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Full text of "On the domesticated animals of the British islands: comprehending the natural and economical history of species and varieties; the description of the properties of external form; and observations on the principles and practice of breeding"

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FROM early times, Great Britain has been distin- 
guished for the numbers and excellence of the Animals 
reared for the uses of the inhabitants. The cultivation 
of the Horse began in the earlier periods of our history, 
for the purposes of War and the tournament, and has 
subsequently been carried to great perfection, for the 
race-course, the chase, the saddle, and for draught. 
The' cultivation of Sheep was early the subject of pub- 
lic attention, and, as being connected with the woollen 
manufactures of the country, was favoured by numerous 
laws ; and within a period comparatively recent, extra- 
ordinary attention has been devoted to the means of 
cultivating animals for human food. It is during this 
latter era, which began about the middle of last cen- 
tury, that the greatest additions have been made to the 
value of the Live-stock of the country, and that the 
practice of breeding has been reduced to a system, and 
founded upon principles. 
Of the species of the Domesticated Animals natural- 


ized in the British Islands, numerous varieties present 
themselves, to which we apply the term Breeds. The 
characters of species may have been imprinted by ori- 
ginal organization, or may have been the result of laws 
of organic development and change, of whose nature 
and operation we are ignorant. The characters which 
distinguish varieties are those which may reasonably be 
ascribed to known agencies, as climate, and the supplies 
of food. The differences of character, indeed, produced 
by agencies of this kind, may be very great; and, in 
the case of many animals, the naturalist may be left in 
doubt, whether the differences observed are the result 
of original organization, or of more recent changes. 
But however species may have originated, or varieties 
have been produced, all animals submitted to domesti- 
cation are subject to modifications of size, form, and 
other characters, dependent on the conditions under 
which they are reared ; and by breeding, we can com- 
municate the distinctive properties of parents to the 

In the rural economy of this country, a high degree 
of importance is to be ascribed to a knowledge of the 
distinctive characters of Races or Breeds. Much of 
the profit of the owners depends upon adapting the 
breed of any animal to the circumstances in which it 
is to be placed. By rearing, for example, a breed of 
large and delicate oxen, in a country unsuited, from its 
natural or artificial productions, to maintain it, we 
incur the hazard of loss in various wavs ; while, on the 


other hand, by rearing an inferior breed in situations 
where one of greater value could be maintained, we 
deprive ourselves of the profit which the natural or 
acquired advantages of our situation present. 

An error of another kind is the subject of constant 
observation, the result likewise of imperfect knowledge 
of the distinctive characters of breeds. For the pro- 
curing of a breed adapted to the situation in which it 
is to be reared, two general methods may be pursued ; 
either a new breed may be substituted for that which 
exists, or the old one may have its characters modified 
or changed by crossing with other races. There are 
many cases in which scarcely an error can be commit- 
ted in our practice in these respects, provided we resort 
to a really superior race; but there are many other 
cases in which a change of this kind may be injurious, 
or attended with doubtful benefit. Animals become 
gradually adapted to the conditions in which they are 
placed, 'and many breeds have accordingly become ad- 
mirably suited to the physical state of the country in 
which they have been naturalized. Thus, the West 
Highland Breed of cattle has become suited to a humid 
climate and a country of mountains ; the beautiful 
breed of North Devon, to a country of lower altitude 
and milder climate. In these, and many cases more, 
an intermixture of stranger blood might destroy the 
characters which time had imprinted on the stock, and 
produce a progeny inferior in useful properties to either 
of the parent races. Not only have individual breeders 


erred in the application of this kind of crossing to 
practice in particular cases, but several entire breeds 
have been lost which ought to have been preserved. 
There are many breeds, indeed, so defective in them- 
selves, that time and capital would have been lost in 
endeavouring to cultivate them ; but not a few, as will 
be seen in the sequel, might have been improved to 
the degree required, by mere selection of parents, and 
attention to the known principles of breeding. 

Not only do animals become adapted in constitution, 
temperament, and habits, to the situations in which 
they have been naturalized, but characters Communi- 
cated by art become permanent by continued repro- 
duction. Thus, in the case of the Dairy Breed of 
Ayrshire, by breeding from females that possess the 
property of yielding a large quantity of milk, a pecu- 
liar breed has been at length formed, exceedingly well 
suited to the purposes of the dairy, and at the same 
time hardy and fitted to subsist on ordinary food. 
Now, such a breed might be injured, and not im- 
proved, by crossing even with a race superior to itself 
in many properties. Thus, a cross with the Durham 
or Hereford Breeds would produce animals of larger 
size and superior fattening properties to the native 
race ; but even in these properties, the progeny would 
be inferior to either the Herefords or the Durhams, 
and inferior, as a hardy race of dairy cattle, to the 
Ayrshire Breed itself. Hence, the crossing of a breed 
of cattle with a race apparently superior, will not 


always be attended with ultimate good; and caution 
and knowledge of the end to be arrived at are required 
even in the cases where the good seems most easily 

Another error of a different kind, but proceeding like- 
wise from imperfect knowledge of the relative value of 
breeds, prevails to a great extent. Breeds, in themselves 
bad, are obstinately retained in districts fitted to sup- 
port superior races. In every part of the kingdom, we 
see breeds which are unworthy of being preserved, while 
the easiest means are at the command of the farmer 
of supplying their place by others suited to the lo- 
cality. Thus, over the greater part of Wales, there are 
races of wild diminutive Sheep, which, in economical 
value, can bear no comparison with those which could be 
supplied from other places. In Kerry, and other 
mountainous districts stretching along the western 
coast of Ireland, in place of such Sheep as the coun- 
try could maintain, are to be seen assemblages of 
animals of the size of dogs, and as wild as antelopes, 
neither having wool fitted to the manufactures of the 
country, nor being capable of fattening to any size. 
Even in the heart of Yorkshire, as we shall see in the 
sequel, a breed of Sheep is preserved, covering a con- 
siderable tract of country, which, from its coarseness 
of form, and inaptitude to fatten, ranks in the lowest 
class of cultivated Sheep in England; and in every 
part of the kingdom, we may see examples of the vast 
public and private loss which results from unacquaint- 


ance with the relative value and economical uses of the 
different breeds of our domesticated animals. 

To remove the causes of mistaken practice, in a 
branch of industry so important to the interests of 
producers and consumers, may be regarded as matter 
of national interest. Prom the produce of live-stock 
in this country, a large part of the subsistence of the 
people, of the materials of our manufactures, of the 
profits of the farmer, and of the revenue of the land- 
holder, is derived. In many parts of the kingdom 
tillage is difficult or impracticable, and the only valu- 
able production is live-stock ; and it is not too much 
to assert, that half the rental of the British Islands 
is derived from this source. These considerations will 
make it appear, how much the study and advancement 
of this department of rural economy merit the atten- 
tion of those who seek to widen the channels of native 

Several years ago I published an account of the 
Breeds of the more important Domesticated Animals 
of this country, the Horse, the Ox, the Sheep, the 
Goat, the Hog, accompanied by an extensive series of 
coloured lithographic prints, being portraits of animals 
of the different races, selected from the stocks of the 
most eminent breeders in different parts of the king- 
dom. This Work, in two large Volumes, is before the 
public, and has been republished in other countries. 
It has appeared to me, that the substance of it might 
be presented to agriculturists in a different and less 



expensive form, and thus be adapted to more general 
use. I have, accordingly, re-written the description of 
the species and varieties, adding such remarks on the 
properties of external form, and the principles and 
practice of breeding, as may supply, in part, the want 
of the original figures. I have likewise added to the 
description of the other animals, that of the Dog, both 
on account of the general interest of the subject, and 
of its particular relation to the production of varieties, 
and the effects of breeding. 









WOOL, . . . . 


1. The Breeds of the Zetland and Orkney Islands, 

2. The Soft-Woolled Sheep of Scotland, 

3. The Breed of the Higher Welsh Mountains, 

4. The Soft-Woolled Sheep of Wales, 

5. The Breed of the Wicklow Mountains, 

6. The Kerry Breed, .... 

7. The Forest Breeds of England, 

8. The Black-Faced Heath Breed, 

9. The Cheviot Breed, 

10. The Old Norfolk Breed, 

11. The Penistone Breed, 

12. The Old Wiltshire Breed, . 

13. The Dorset Breed, .... 

14. The Merino Breed, 

15. The Ryeland Breed, 

16. The South Down Breed, 

17. The Old Lincoln Breed, 

18. The Romney Marsh Breed, 

19. The Older Long-Woolled Breeds, . 

20. The Cotswold Breed, 

21. The New Leicester Breed, . . . 





























THE DAIKY, ...... 267 


1. The Wild or White Forest Breed, ... 296 

2. The Zetland Breed, .... ib. 

3. The West Highland Breed, ... 300 

4. The Pembroke Breed, .... 304 

5. The Kerry Breed, ..... 309 

6. The Angus Breed, ..... 312 

7. The Polled Aberdeenshire Breed, . . . 315 

8. The Galloway Breed, .... 317 

9. The Polled Suffolk Breed, .... 322 

10. The Polled Irish Breed, .... 327 

11. The Falkland Breed, .... 328 

12. The Alderney Breed, .... 333 

13. The Ayrshire Breed, .... 339 

14. The Devon Breed, ..... 345 

15. The Sussex Breed, ..... 351 

16. The Glamorgan Breed, .... 356 

17. The Herefordshire Breed, .... 362 

18. The Long-Horned Breed, .... 367 

19. The Short-Horned Breed, . . . . 379 



BREEDS, viz. : 

The Siamese Breed, ..... 425 

The Breeds of the Highlands and Islands o Scotland, 429 

The Old English Breeds, .... ib. 

,The Berkshire Breed, &c., .... 431 




1. THE RACE-HORSE, ..... 525 

2. THE HUNTER, ..... 587 


viz. : 

The Old English Coach-Horse, . . . . 601 

The Cleveland Bay, .... 602 

The Hackney, . . . . 604 

The Cavalry Horse, ... ib. 


1. The Old English Black Horse, . . 608 

2. Breeds of the North-Eastern Counties, . . 613 



3. The Clydesdale Breed, 

4. The Suffolk Punch Breed, 






Dogs of the Arctic Regions, 

Shepherd's Dogs, 

Great Dog of Newfoundland, 


Irish Wolf-Dog, 




Dog of St Bernard, 

Old British Blood-hound, 
















Introduction, p. Ixxiii, line 15 from bottom, /or scapula read sternum 




ALL bodies may, with relation to their modes of existence, 
be divided into two great classes, the first comprehending 
those which consist of common matter, subject to the laws 
of chemical action ; the second comprehending the bodies in 
which matter is further subject to those other laws to which 
matter endowed with life is subject. A stone, a metal, or a 
piece of earth, is common matter, subject to known chemical 
actions. A plant or an animal is likewise matter, subject to 
changes of place, or disposition of its constituent particles, by 
chemical forces. But, while the plant or the animal lives, it 
is under the influence of other powers, and has its form, ac- 
tions, and relations, determined and controlled by a distinct 
system of laws. It is then a living body, and it is only when 
it ceases to live that it becomes wholly subject to the chemi- 
cal laws of common matter. 

Of the laws which produce the condition to which we ap- 
ply the term Life, we know nothing but from certain pheno- 
mena which the living body presents. The essential cause is 
amongst those ultimate truths which human reason cannot 
reach. No approach has been made to solve the mystery of 
Life ; and at this hour we are as ignorant of the cause of life, 
and of the agency which connects the powers of mind and 
the mechanism of the body, as at the first dawning of human 



Of living bodies there are two great divisions, the Vege- 
table and the Animal. In the vegetable there is life, but, so 
far as we know, there is no sensation, nor power of motion 
dependent upon the will. In the animal there is sensation, 
and the power of voluntary motion. An aphorism frequently 
quoted is, that plants grow and live ; that animals grow, live, 
and feel. Life, then, pervades both kingdoms ; but life, in the 
animal, performs other functions, and sensation is added to 
the powers merely vital. 

Besides that distinction between common matter, and mat- 
ter under the influence of the vital principle, which is founded 
on the different powers and functions of bodies, there is an- 
other distinction, obvious to the senses, founded on the dif- 
ferent structure and form of the bodies. Matter uninfluenced 
by the powers of life, presents itself in masses, or in regular 
forms termed crystalline. In living bodies, the particles con- 
stituting the organism do not arrange themselves in masses 
or crystals, but form fibres, sacs, tubes, or other parts, suited 
to particular functions. This structure is termed organiza- 
tion, and is proper to the living kingdom, vegetable and ani- 
mal. Hence the further distinction exists between the mine- 
ral and living kingdoms of nature, of Organic and Inorganic. 
Inorganic matter has its substance increased by the addi- 
tion of further particles. Organic matter is likewise increas- 
ed by the addition of further parts, but then it adds to its 
own substance by the action of its proper organs. A mineral 
is increased in volume or weight by the simple addition of 
new parts : a plant, or an animal, deriving matter from other 
substances, converts it, by the action of its organs, into the 
various tissues which constitute its own substance. Organic 
bodies, therefore, only can be said to grow. 

As the particles of living bodies are determined and con- 
trolled in their actions and relations by peculiar forces, so 
living bodies resist changes, physical and chemical, which, in 
the dead state, would take place. The influence of heat, 
moisture, or other agents, which would subvert the union of 

the par 

.. V - 


the particles of a body when dead, can be resisted by the 
same body when it is endowed with life. Animals, when alive, 
have the power of resisting extremes of heat, which acting 
upon the dead body would dry up and dissipate its fluid parts, 
nay, reduce it to a cinder. Many persons have subjected 
themselves to a temperature of the air far exceeding that of 
boiling water, and yet the heat of the body itself has very 
little exceeded that of its natural state. A few years ago 
a French mountebank exhibited, night after night, to thou- 
sands of spectators, in London, his power of entering a heat- 
ed oven, in which he remained while a piece of flesh was 
roasted. A coal-mine in Scotland, in the valley of the Forth, 
having taken fire, burned for years, and long resisted all the 
attempts to extinguish it. Miners frequently worked in the 
vicinity of this burning mine, when the heat of the air was 
nearly equal to that of boiling water. They pursued their 
labour in this torrid atmosphere, without seeming injury to 
their health, or other inconvenience than continued perspira- 
tion : and many more examples could be given of the power 
of the animal frame to resist extreme heat, while the tempe- 
rature of the blood and other fluids within the body remained 
without sensible change. 

As the vital powers of the animal enable the body to resist 
intense heat, so they enable it to resist excessive cold. At 
degrees of temperature at which all the fluids of the dead 
body would be frozen, the living body retains its natural 
temperature, and performs its wonted functions. Even in 
these latitudes of ours, there every year occur periods of 
cold, when the temperature of the external air is below that 
at which water congeals, and at which all the fluids of the 
body would freeze were they separated from it. In countries 
of the higher latitudes, the mean temperature of the year falls 
below the melting point of ice, and yet such countries are in- 
habited by numerous animals. The recent voyages of intrepid 
travellers, the Parrys, the Franklins, the Rosses, and others, 
have shewn that, at a degree of cold below that at which 


mercury freezes, the human beings subjected to it can take 
their wonted exercise and perform their accustomed duties. 
Nay, there are cases to shew that certain animals may have 
the great mass of their fluids frozen, and yet be preserved 
from death. Fishes have been dragged up from the circum- 
polar seas, which froze, as the nets were in the course of be- 
ing raised, into masses so hard that they might have been 
shivered to pieces by a stroke, and yet they would recover if 
thawed. A common eel has been frozen like a piece of ice, 
and been conveyed in a state of torpor thousands of miles, 
and then been restored to its state of activity by the applica- 
tion of warmth. 

But there are degrees of cold to which the frame of cer- 
tain animals in their state of activity is unsuited. Nature 
here provides a remedy by rendering them torpid in the ab- 
sence of necessary heat. Thus innumerable insects are ren- 
dered insensible to the action of the external air during the 
winter season. In the case of the animals termed hyber- 
nating, sensation becomes suspended, the fluids of the body 
circulate more slowly, and respiration and all the vital ac- 
tions become less active. The torpor of the creature is like 
death rather than sleep, and yet enough of vital action re- 
mains to preserve it from the external agents, which, in its 
condition of activity, would destroy it. It remains as if dead, 
but as soon as the air recovers the due warmth, the vital 
functions of the animal regain their powers, and it awakens 
from its long trance. The dormouse, the marmot, the hedge- 
hog, the bat, are with us familiar examples of animals that 
undergo this state of winter sleep, during which they are 
so dead to feeling that they may be tossed about, nay, 
sometimes have the limbs separated from the body, or the 
most vital parts exposed, without their exhibiting symptoms 
of sensation. The swallow, which migrates to us in the 
early part of summer, quits us on the approach of the colder 
season. But some, too young or too feeble for flight, remain 
behind. These betake themselves to holes in walls and the 


earth, to remain in their state of slumber till the return of the 
warmer season shall call them again into life. And other mi- 
gratory birds, as the cuckoo and the corn- rail, are sometimes 
overtaken by this sleep of winter before they have been able 
to make their periodical flight, during which they may be 
tossed about without their moving a joint of the body. 

The lower tribes of animals, whose sensations are obtuse, 
present examples yet more striking than the higher tribes of 
the power of the living principle to preserve the animal organ- 
ism from the action of external agents. Many species will 
survive the most cruel torments, and revive after a long 
period of seeming death. Certain species of vibrio have been 
so dessicated by the sun that they have become like dust, 
and, after twenty years, have been restored to life by sprink- 
ling them with a little water. 

Of the power of the living body to resist those agents 
which would otherwise act upon and decompose it, an ex- 
ample is furnished by a substance, the production of the 
body itself. The gastric juice is secreted from the interior 
of the stomach, and is employed to dissolve the food which is 
received into the alimentary canal. This substance possesses 
a prodigious solvent power, yet it never acts upon the living 
organs with which it comes into contact in the body, although 
capable of dissolving all animal matters when deprived of 
life. Numerous parasitic creatures are formed to live in the 
stomachs of other animals. When alive they resist all the 
actions of the powerful solvent by which they are surrounded, 
but the moment life is extinct in them, they become subject 
to its powers, and undergo decomposition. 

Examples, too, of the property of bodies having life to 
resist those agents which would destroy them in their dead 
state, may be everywhere drawn from the vegetable king- 
dom. All the hardier forest trees resist the intensest cold 
of the climates where they are naturalized, and the vegetable 
juices remain without being frozen. Every perfect seed con- 
tains within itself an embryo plant, which only requires the 


fitting influence of heat and moisture that it may become a 
living plant similar to the parent. But seeds which had been 
buried deep in the earth for a period beyond computation, 
have been found to vegetate and grow when exposed again 
to the influence of air, heat, and moisture. Earth turned up 
from the bottom of wells and mines, has been found to give 
birth to plants whose seeds had been mixed with it, and 
which may have remained for many thousand ages beneath 
the surface of the ground. 

Death, as well as life, is a law of Nature, and life with all 
its powers is but the gift of a season. The organised fabric, 
so marvellously formed, contains within itself the germs of 
decay. The circulating fluids become more thick, the textures 
more rigid, and the vital organs less fitted to perform their 
functions. The balance is lost between the waste of the 
system and the means of supplying its parts with nutriment ; 
and thus, independently of all external injury, the time ar- 
rives when the mechanism of the body can no longer work 
with the vigour required to maintain the animal functions. 

And when life at length ceases to animate the organised 
fabric, the change that ensues in the body marks the cessa- 
tion of all those powers which had enabled it to resist the 
chemical effects of the agents with which it had been sur- 
rounded from the period of its existence. Some of its parts 
are exceedingly hard and durable, as the bones ; but they 
are no otherwise distinguished, in their subjection to che- 
mical agencies, from the flesh and softer parts which are 
subject to so rapid a change. The heat which pervaded the 
animal frame, and which may be believed to have arisen from 
within by the exercise of the vital actions, is gone, the muscles 
have lost their power, and all the gifts of thought and con- 
sciousness have been seemingly taken away. 

The living kingdom, we see, comprehends two great divi- 
sions, the vegetable and the animal ; and each of these king- 
doms is divided into innumerable species and tribes of crea- 
tures, distinguished by their form, powers, functions, and 



relations with the world which they inhabit. In both king- 
doms, we find not only an infinite diversity of organised 
structures, but a passing from simple to more complex forms. 
In the beings, the lowest in the scale of either kingdom, the 
organs are few, or imperfectly developed. As we ascend in 
the scale, further parts appear, further organs are called into 
play, and further powers are given. At the lowest point, 
the tribes of the two kingdoms seem allied, and proceed, as 
it were, from a common root, and then progressively diverge. 
In the simplest of plants, little can be discovered beyond a 
series of minute cells. As we ascend in the scale, we find 
tubes traversing this tissue, leaves unfolded, and other or- 
gans called forth. So, in the animal kingdom, we find a pro- 
gressive advance from simple to complex forms of structure. 
At the limits of the descending scale are creatures so simple 
in their organism, that they are scarcely to be distinguished 
by the eye from plants ; and, like plants, they are fixed to 
the spot which they inhabit. Ascending higher, we find 
creatures with more expanded powers and more developed 
organs, and so, in an ascending series, until we reach those 
in which the highest development is presented to us of the 
organs necessary for the exercise of the animal functions. 

By the term Species, naturalists designate those animals 
which are essentially alike in themselves and their progeny. 
The number of animal species is exceedingly great. Many 
thousands have been examined and arranged by the unspar- 
ing labour of naturalists ; thousands are known imperfectly ; 
and thousands must for ever escape our observation. Of the 
individuals comprehended under these species, the numbers 
exceed our powers of conception. The air is alive with liv- 
ing creatures ; every plant has its crowds of inhabitants ; and 
all the waters of the sea and land teem with life. Numbers 
of these creatures are so minute, that some hundred thou- 

nds may exist in a drop of water. 

In order to classify these innumerable forms of life, they 
are arranged into Groups, the members of which agree in 


certain characters. The most general or comprehensive of 
these divisions are termed Kingdoms, Sub-Kingdoms, &c. 
These, again, are divided into Classes, Orders, Families, or 
Tribes ; and these, again, into Genera or little Families, 
consisting of one or more Species, that is, of animals essen- 
tially alike in themselves and their progeny. The lowest 
division that can be made is into Varieties, Races, or Breeds, 
which consist of animals agreeing in the characters which 
we term specific, but differing in certain minor characters, 
assumed to be the result of known agencies, as climate, 
temperature, and food. The classifications most commonly 
received are founded upon that of the illustrious Cuvier, who 
divided the whole animal kingdom into four great groups, 
namely, 1. Radiata, or Radiated Animals ; 2. Articulata, or 
Jointed Animals ; 3. Mollusca, or Soft Animals ; 4. Verte- 
brata, or Animals having the basis of the nervous system 
enclosed in vertebrae, or hollow bones. 

The Radiata are so named from the general tendency of 
their organs to proceed like radii from a common centre. 
They may be regarded as the simplest in their forms of ani- 
mated creatures. The nervous system, which, in the higher 
order of animals., is developed in ganglia and a brain, is in 
them rudimental, visible, when it can be discovered at all, in 
a few fibres, surrounding the entrance of the alimentary 
canal. Many of them present the appearance of a simple 
digestive sac or tube, furnished with little arms or tenta- 
cula, or with mouths for fixing themselves to the substances 
on which they feed. Many of them are so small as to be 
invisible to the unassisted eye, nay, some so inconceivably 
minute, that a million of millions, it has been calculated, might 
be comprehended within the space of a cubic inch. The spe- 
cies, however, present a vast variety of size as well as of 
form, from the simplest of all, to those in which new organs 
are developed, suited to more varied functions. They are 
all the inhabitants of water, and almost all those whose ha- 
bits can be observed are predaceous, seizing their prey by 


means of their numerous arms, and myriads of cilia. Many 
of them are, like plants, fixed to the spot on which they live 
and perish, as the varied species of Sponge, which are met 
with on every rocky coast from the equator to the polar seas ; 
and such are the innumerable Polypi, whose calcareous se- 
cretions stud the ocean as with bushes and forests, and form 
new islands and continents of Coral. Many species are ge- 
latinous, and so transparent as scarcely to be distinguished 
by the eye from the element in which they live. Yet such 
creatures have a will, the faculty of motion, and the force to 
prey on other animals. Such are the Medusae, some large, 
some microscopic, which float in myriads together, so that 
the whole ocean seems to be alive with them, giving often a 
tinge to the waves over many hundred miles, and in the 
dark emitting sparkles of phosphorescent light. The Radi- 
ata, passing through almost every conceivable form, from the 
simple digestive sac, to the sea-urchins, star-fishes, and simi- 
lar creatures, which we may see studding the submerged 
margins of our coasts, advance, by insensible gradations, to 
the groups above them. 

The divisions above the Radiata, are the Mollusca and Ar- 
ticulata, nearly of an equal rank in the organic scale, but 
differing from one another in the conformation which they 
tend to assume. In the Articulata, the nervous system 
begins to be extended in length, and with this the form 
of the body. Some of them are minute transparent ani- 
malcules, invisible to the naked eye ; and some of them are 
like little wheels, continually revolving, and preying upon 
the yet feebler creatures with which every drop of water 
seems filled. A little higher in the scale are the innumer- 
able parasitic creatures which suck the fluids of other ani- 
mals, living within their bodies, and frequently proving dan- 
gerous enemies even to man and the larger animals. Above 
these are the annulose, or worm-like animals, whose skins 
are furnished with rings, giving the articulated form typical 
of the group ; next are the creatures formed with numerous 


moveable segments and feet, as the Earwig and Scolopen- 
dra ; next the innumerable tribes of Insects, most of which 
feed on plants, but many of which are predaceous ; next the 
Arachnida, comprehending the Spiders and Scorpions, crea- 
tures strong, voracious, and endowed with wonderful in- 
stincts, and frequently supplied with poison to destroy their 
prey, or with secretions to form nets for entangling it ; and, 
lastly, are the Crustacea, as the Lobster and Crab, having a 
horny skeleton, enveloping the softer parts, and formed with 
articulations or joints, to allow of the requisite freedom of 

The Mollusca differ from the Articulata in not having 
jointed bodies and limbs, but a soft body, covered by a mus- 
cular integument, which assumes various forms in the differ- 
ent tribes, and in most of them gives out a calcareous secre- 
tion, which, hardening, forms a shell to serve for the pro- 
tection of the animal. They are aquatic, with the exception 
of a few tribes. They are infinitely diversified in size and 
form ; but they are generally either slow-moving or fixed to 
a spot, as the Oyster, the Mussel, and other animals termed 
shell-fish. There are many of them phosphorescent, and 
emit a brilliant light. They abounded in the past ages of 
the world ; and whole mountains, and immense calcareous 
strata, are formed of their remains. The lowest in the scale 
are those which are soft, without heads, and destitute of cal- 
careous secretion without or within the body : the next are 
those which have shells, but are without heads, though fur- 
nished with mouths, and numerous eyes around the mar- 
gins of their integument: the next are those which have 
shells, and a muscular disc extended under the abdomen, and 
serving like a foot for crawling along the surface : the next 
are those which are especially adapted for swimming, and 
are either with or without a shell : the last and highest in 
the scale are those which have feet and arms disposed around 
the head, and which are, many of them, powerful beasts 
of prey, furnished with large tentacula with which they 


entangle their victims. Amongst these are the Sepiae termed 
uttle-fish, which have the property of emitting an inky fluid, 
either to conceal themselves from their enemies, or permit 
them to approach their own prey. 

In all the kinds of animals enumerated, no brain, pro- 
perly so called, exists, the rudiments of it merely appearing 
in ganglia, or knots of nervous filaments. Now, the nervous 
system is the instrument by which the knowledge of external 
objects is conveyed to the sentient being, and by which the 
ictates of the will are transmitted to the various organs of 
the body. In proportion to its development, the animal rises 
higher in the scale of living beings, and is endowed with 
more varied powers. In the lowest tribes of all, it is merely 
developed in bundles of fibres, surrounding the alimentary 
canal ; ascending higher, it forms knots or ganglia, and still 
higher, it changes its place, and expands towards the head, 
and stretches along the dorsal region. In the highest order 
of animals of all, it enlarges into a true brain, and, extending 
along the back, is inclosed in numerous bones termed vertebrae. 
The Vertebrata. or animals possessed of vertebrae, are 
usually divided into four groups, which may be termed sub- 

1. Pisces. 

2. Reptilia. 

3. Aves. 

4. Mammalia. 

All the Vertebrata have a series of bones moveable upon 
ne another, and bound together, termed the Spine. Each 
rtebra has a perforation through it, so that, when the whole 
ertebrse are joined together, a long continuous canal passes 
hrough the spinal column. At the upper or anterior termi- 
nation of the column, the vertebrae change their form, become 
flat, and, being fixed together, form a rounded cavity termed 
the Cranium ; connected with which, but distinct from it, are 

fe bones of the face, in which are the receptacles of the special 
nses, namely, sight, smell, hearing, and taste. The era- 


nium encloses the brain, the substance of which is prolonged 
through the canal of the vertebral column, forming the spinal 
chord, terminating in the lower vertebrae. From the under 
part of the brain, and from the spinal chord, proceed bundles 
of nervous filaments, which, dividing, subdividing, and inter- 
mixing, communicate with every sensible part of the body. 

All the vertebrata have ribs, or hoops of bone, for protect- 
ing the lungs and other organs, with the exception of a few 
tribes in which the ribs are rudimental. Their limbs con- 
sist of two pairs, though one and sometimes both pairs are 
rudimental or wanting. The upper or anterior limbs may 
be arms and hands, as in man and the monkey tribes ; legs 
and feet, as in quadrupeds ; organs for flight, as in birds ; 
fins, as in fishes : the hinder or inferior limbs may be feet, 
legs, or fins, according to the uses to which they are des- 

All the vertebrata have a muscular organ, the heart, con- 
tained within the chest, for propelling the blood through the 
system. They have all respiratory organs, in which the 
blood, passed through innumerable capillary tubes, finer 
than the finest hair, is acted upon by the air of the surround- 
ing medium. In fishes, and certain reptiles, the respiratory 
apparatus is termed branchite or gills, over which the water, 
containing air, passes ; in all the other vertebrata, the res- 
piratory apparatus, termed lungs, consists essentially of a 
congeries of minute cells, into which the air is drawn through 
the trachea or windpipe from the mouth and nostrils. 

In all the vertebrata there is a continued canal, which, 
commencing at the mouth, extends through the body, and 
which, enlarging within the abdomen, forms the stomach, 
consisting of one or more cavities, in which the food is re- 
tained for a time. The food is then acted upon by various 
fluids, secreted from the interior surface of the stomach, by 
the action of which it becomes a pulpy mass, to which is ap- 
plied the term Chyme. The chyme thus formed passes on- 
wards by the extremity of the stomach towards the remain- 


ing part of the canal, termed the intestines, which consist 
of a tube of prodigious length, convoluted and packed within 
the abdomen. The chyme, as it passes onward, mixes with 
other fluids secreted from the liver and other organs, and is 
separated into two portions, one of which, termed Chyle, is 
to form the matter of nutrition to the body, and the other to 
be excreted at the termination of the intestinal canal. Com- 
municating with this canal is a vast system of vessels, termed 
absorbents, which drink up, or absorb, the matter of the chyle, 
and which, gradually uniting into larger branches, carry on- 
ward the matter of the chyle, and at length uniting, pour it 
into veins which are carrying the blood to the heart, and 
thus mingle the nutrient matter of the aliment with the blood. 
The blood, carried to every part of the system in myriads of 
vessels, gives off the various matters which form the tissues 
of the body, as the matter of muscle or flesh, where that is 
required to be formed, bone, where bone is to be deposited, 
nerve, fat, and all the other matters which form the animal 

In all the vertebrata, the sexes exist in distinct indivi- 
duals. The female has one or more organs from which the 
ova, which contain the germ of the young, are detached after 
conception. In the greater number of tribes, fecundation 
takes place before the ovum leaves the body ; in certain rep- 
tiles, and in most fishes, impregnation takes place after the 
exit of the ovum. 

The vertebrata, it has been seen, are divided into four 
groups ; each distinguished by peculiarities of organization, 
but all conforming to a common type. The simplest are 
Fishes, the next Reptiles, the next Birds, the last, and most 
perfectly developed in their organs, Mammalia. 

Fishes have organs suited to the liquid medium which they 
inhabit. They breathe by means of gills ; and have but 
the rudiments of lungs, which are presented in the form of 
simple air-sacs. Their bones are more soft and cartilaginous 
than in the orders above them. Their limbs are short and 


expanded into fins, which, with the tail, are the organs of 
progression. By contracting or expanding the air-sac, they 
are enabled to alter the specific gravity of their bodies, and 
rise or sink in the liquid in which they float. Their brain is 
small ; their blood is red, but cold ; and the temperature of 
their bodies is little above that of the surrounding element. 
They are exceedingly voracious, preying incessantly the 
strong upon the weak. Like all the other creatures, they 
pass progressively from the simpler to the more developed, 
until they are connected with the group above them, namely, 
the Reptiles. 

The division Reptilia comprehends creatures varying greatly 
in their forms, but all conforming to a common type. Some, 
like fishes, have gills in the young state, the lungs being 
only developed when they are able to quit the liquid me- 
dium in which they are born, while a few retain both gills 
and lungs through life, so that they are true Amphibia. 
This group comprehends the Batrachian reptiles, the frogs, 
the toads, the salamanders, and others ; the Chelonian rep- 
tiles, as the tortoises and turtles ; the Saurian tribes, as 
the lizard and crocodile ; and the Ophidean, comprehending 
the snakes and serpents of all kinds. All the reptiles are 
cold-blooded, and have a languid circulation. A few have 
wings, and in a former age of the world the winged reptiles 
were numerous, and of huge dimensions. The serpents, 
partly aquatic, and partly living on land, are without feet, 
and those which are inhabitants of land crawl upon the 
ground, and many of them are furnished with a poison, with 
which they are enabled to inflict deadly wounds. This sub- 
stance, secreted by glands situated beneath the eyes, is con- 
veyed to large tubular teeth in the mouth, by which the 
venom is conveyed to the wound. 

Rising higher in the scale of organization are the beauti- 
ful and varied tribes of Birds. The bodies of these creatures 
are protected by light plumage : their posterior extremities 
are limbs of support when at rest, and instruments of pre- 



hension and progression on land, and their fore -extremities, 
expanded, covered with strong feathers, and moved by pow- 
erful muscles, serve as the organs of flight. Their jaws ter- 
minate in a pointed beak ; and their necks are long and flex- 
ible, so that by moving it, they may vary the centre of gra- 
vity of the body, bringing it forwards when in flight to be 
more under the wings, and backwards above the limbs of 
support when at rest. The external air permeates the body, 
passing from the lungs even into the bones, so that the body 
may be rendered buoyant. Their respiratory action is strong, 
their blood warm, and their movements are agile and power- 
ful. Impregnation takes place within the body, and the egg, 
when protruded, is covered by a calcareous shell ; the heat 
required to hatch it being usually supplied by the body of the 
parent. In birds, the nervous system is more developed than 
in the tribes below them, and their intelligence may be be- 
lieved to be superior. In them we first find animals resign- 
ing their natural wildness, changing their form and instincts 
with the new conditions in which they are placed, and thus 
submitting themselves to true domestication. 

The Mammalia derive their distinctive name from mam- 
ma, a breast, having glands by which the female is en- 
abled to supply milk to the young. The mammalia are, most 
of them, inhabitants of land, but some of them are formed to 
live wholly in water, and some of them live partly in water, 
and partly on land. The greater number are quadrupeds, 
the members of both extremities being limbs, formed to sup- 
port the animal, and serve the purpose of locomotion, and in 
numerous cases of prehension. The monkey tribes possess 
four members, having hands, but their natural motion is on 
all-fours. Man possesses but two limbs of support, and is 
formed to walk erect, his upper extremities or arms being 
left free for the various uses to which they are to be applied. 
All the mammalia bring forth their young alive, and so are 
termed viviparous. They are divided into various groups, 
hich may be termed Orders. 


1. Cetacea, the Whale tribes, which, though viviparous, 
breathing by means of lungs, and suckling their young by 
mammas, are formed on a plan which fits them to live in 
water. Some are formed like fishes, as the Porpoise and 
the Dolphin, having a smooth and glossy skin without hairs, 
and connected with the skin the fatty tissue termed blubber, 
from which oil is obtained. The next in order are the true 
Whales, of which some are the hugest creatures to which 
life is given on this planet. They have no teeth, but they 
have enormous mouths, which enable them to take in, along 
with the water, shoals of worms, little shell-fish, and innu- 
merable animalcules. It is when they rise to the surface to 
breathe that they spout forth from their nostrils the water 
which they had swallowed with their prey, in great jets. 
They yield a vast quantity of oil, for which production they 
are pursued in the seas which they inhabit, and harpooned 
when they rise to the surface to breathe. 

2. Ruminantia, so named from the faculty possessed by 
them of returning to the mouth the food which has passed 
into the stomach, and subjecting it to a second mastication. 
All the ruminantia live on vegetable food, have the feet 
cloven, and defended at the extremities by horn. They con- 
stitute an order of creatures of the highest interest, com- 
prehending the Stag, the Antelope, the Giraffe, and others, 
amongst the wilder races ; the Goat, the Sheep, the Ox, the 
Camel, amongst those which have been subjected to human 
control. Living on vegetables alone, they are never incited, 
by the appetite for food, to prey on other creatures. Some 
of them are fitted to save themselves from their enemies by 
flight, and are amongst the fleetest of quadrupeds, as the 
Elks, the Deers, the Gazelles, which delight the eye by their 
graceful motions. Some dwell on the summits, and amid 
the crags, of mountains, as the Ibex, the Chamois Antelope, 
and the Wild Sheep. Some are supplied with organs placed 
in the head, which can often be used with deadly effect for 
protection or revenge. These arms are antlers, or horns, 


the former being cast off and renewed every year, the latter 
enduring for the life of the animal. The Stag and other 
allied species are furnished with antlers ; the Antelope, the 
Goat, the Sheep, and the Ox, with horns. The ruminating 
tribes may be said to be the most important of any other to 
the interests of the human race, some of them being endowed 
with instincts which cause them to relinquish their natural 
wildness, and submit themselves entirely to our purposes. 
The Camel is fitted beyond all other creatures to traverse the 
burning sands of the desert ; the Ox, the Sheep, and the 
Goat, have been the servants of man from the earliest records 
of our race. The very species have been subjected to our 
will : they till the ground for our support, and bear our bur- 
dens ; they yield us milk, and hair, and wool ; and, finally, 
they render up their bodies for our food, and their skins for 
our covering. 

3. Pachydermata, or thick-skinned animals, comprehend- 
ing,^!.) The Tapir, the Wild and Ethiopian Hogs, the Pec- 
caries, and others, of which the Wild Hog is formed, beyond 
any other animal, to submit himself to human control, and 
multiply in the state of slavery ; (2.) The Hippopotamus, 
the Rhinoceros, and the Elephant, of which, in a former age 
of the world, many species abounded, whose bones alone now 
remain to attest their former existence ; (3.) The Solidungu- 
la, comprehending the Horse, the Ass, the Zebra, and other 
allied species ; some of which beautiful creatures remain in 
a state of liberty, and refuse to resign themselves to bond- 
age': while others the Horse and the Ass have been sub- 
mitted to domestication from the earliest records of human 
societies ; (4.) The Dugongs, usually classed with the Whales, 
which live in the sea, but crawl on shore to feed ; creatures 
strong, but harmless and timid, and betaking themselves, 
when alarmed, to their natural element. 

4. Edentata, or animals destitute of incisor teeth, as the 
gigantic Megatherium and Myolodon, now extinct; the family 
of Sloths, fitted to pass their lives in trees ; the Armadilloes, 


supplied with a natural armour ; the Ant-eaters, and two re- 
markable creatures of New Holland, the Duck-billed Water- 
Mole, and the Porcupine Ant- Eater, which connect this order 
with the Birds. 

5. Rodentia, or Gnawing animals, as the Mouse, the Rat, 
the Hare, the Squirrel, the Beaver, and the Porcupine. These 
creatures are some of them predaceous, and others live wholly 
on vegetable food. There are several of them possessed of 
wonderful instincts for constructing their dwellings, and 
many of them remain torpid during the season of cold. Some 
visit our dwellings, as the Rat and the Mouse, without sub- 
mitting themselves to our power ; and the greater number 
are timid, and shun the presence of man. 

6. Marsupialia, animals of diiferent orders, having a pouch 
underneath the abdomen, where the young receive their milk 
from glands, to which they attach themselves, as the Opos- 
sum, the Kangaroo, and the Phalangers. 

7. Carnivora. or Ferae, animals especially destined to feed 
on flesh, and which may be termed beasts of prey, comprehend- 
ing, (1.) the Seals and Walruses, not less fierce and bloody in 
the ocean than the others are on the land ; (2.) the Dog tribe, 
comprehending the domesticated Dogs, the Wolves, the Jack- 
als, the Foxes, and other wild Canidae ; (3.) the Ursidae, com- 
prehending the Bears, the Raccoons, and other allied ani- 
mals ; (4.) the Civet and Weasel tribes, as the Ichneumon, 
the Polecat, the Ferret, the Badger, the Otter ; and, lastly, 
the sanguinary family of Cats, the Lion, the Tiger, the Leo- 
pard, the Panther, the Wild Cat, and others. 

8. Insectivora, animals that live chiefly on insects, and 
which are, most of them, subterranean in their habits, as the 
Hedgehog, the Shrew, the Mole. 

9. Cheiroptera, constituting the varied tribes of Bats, which 
alone, of all the mammalia, are endowed with the power of 
flight. To this end their anterior limbs are expanded into 
broad membranes, and their posterior limbs are furnished 
with hands, by which they hang from trees and the roofs of 


taverns. Some of them live on fruits, most of them feed on 
nocturnal insects, which they pursue from twilight to dawn, 
and a few have the singular propensity of sucking the Wood 
of larger animals while asleep. 

10. Quadrumana, comprehending the Apes, the Monkeys, 
the Baboons, and others ; creatures approaching the nearest 
to man in the form and disposition of their organs, living 
in some cases amongst rocks, but for the most part on trees, 
and forming marvellous commonwealths in the rich forests 
of the warmer countries. 

11. Bimana, having two perfect hands, and comprehend- 
ing a solitary genus, Man, classed with the Mammalia by 
the relations of form and animal attributes, but raised far 
above them all by those powers of mind which fit him to 
perform the functions for which he is destined. He alone 
is endowed with force of reason to know that the marvellous 
system of which he forms a part has been ordained by a 
Superior Power, and to believe that, when the frail fabric by 
which he is permitted to communicate with the external 
world shall have been resolved into its elements, the con- 
sciousness will be preserved to him of his former being. 

In the Mammalia, as in the groups before them, a pro- 
gression may be traced of animal forms, not indeed in a 
merely linear series, such as the imperfection of our know- 
ledge causes us to adopt in our systems of natural classifica- 
tion, but in a certain relation, which we can trace to the 
degree of being assured, that the Mammalia, like the groups 
before them, pass from lower to higher degrees of organic 

And when we look to the past history of the organic world, 
as it is revealed to us in the innumerable remains preserved 
in mineral depositions, we are presented with the like evi- 
dences of a gradation of animal forms, from the simpler to 
the more composite. Nay, there is just reason to believe 
that animal life was first introduced on our planet in its 
simpler forms. For, in the oldest fossiliferous strata, the 


organic remains which we discover are always those only of 
the simpler forms, but chiefly the Mollusca, whose calcareous 
coverings have remained after the softer parts have decayed. 
At a long posterior era, we find the remains of Fishes, the 
next in order of the animal tribes above the Mollusca ; and, 
at length, as successive periods rolled on, we find the remains 
of Reptiles, and at length of Birds and Mammalia, all con- 
forming to the more general types of animal forms, but all 
distinct as species from any now inhabiting the land or wa- 
ters of the globe : and continually, as the earth approaches 
to the present conditions of its surface, new species appear, 
until at last we discover animals identical with those now 
existing, or differing slightly from them. 

By Species we designate animals resembling one another 
in their essential characters, and possessed of the p'ower, 
common to the vegetable and animal kingdoms, of reproduc- 
ing individuals similar to themselves and to one another. 
Now, in the past eras, as in the present, we find animals 
essentially alike, and which we infer were possessed of the 
power of reproducing the like forms. A question which 
enters into the fair range of philosophical inquiry may arise, 
whether, in the course of immense periods of time, these 
species have been so modified, in obedience to some grand 
system of natural laws, as to become suited to new conditions 
of external nature, or whether each mutation has been a new 
act of creative power, called forth as the occasion arose, to 
produce a new race of beings 1 We cannot certainly resolve 
this problem by any knowledge we possess of the actual 
changes of animal species ; and it is only from analogy that 
we can venture to infer, that the operation of the same laws, 
under which species have been called forth by the decrees of 
an Omnipotent Pow r er, may have adapted species to new 
states of existence. Animals, it may be believed, must be 
suited to the conditions of external nature under which they 
are called to exist. The digestive organs must be adapted 
to the nature of the aliment from which the system of the 


body is built up and sustained, and the respiratory organs 
to the physical and chemical constitution of the elements 
which the living creatures respire ; and when great changes 
take place in the relations of living bodies with food, air, 
and other external agents, either we -must suppose that the 
species perish utterly, or that they become adapted to the 
new conditions in which they are placed. The temperature 
of this earth, and, consequently, of the air and water with 
which it was in contact, must at one period have been ex- 
ceedingly great, as measured by the sensations of animals 
now living ; and with the temperature, the physical and che- 
mical relations of the solids and fluids of the globe must 
have varied. We cannot suppose that the pristine ocean 
contained the same earthy, saline, and other constituents, in 
the same proportions as the present seas, or that the at- 
mosphere, with respect to density and other conditions, was 
the same as now. But variations in the conditions of ex- 
ternal nature, having taken place from era to era, we 
have equal reason, at least, to believe that corresponding 
changes have taken place in the form and attributes of 
species, as that alternate destruction and creation have been 
the law of nature. For what periods of time the condi- 
tions of the earth, with its waters and surrounding gases. 
have changed so little as to have remained suited to the 
maintenance of existing species, we do not know ; but the 
period must be believed to have been vastly great, when 
measured by our ordinary conceptions of duration, though 
but as a drop, perhaps, in the stream, when compared with 
the whole duration of the period since animal life was called 
forth upon our planet. The age of the gigantic mastodons, 
the huge tapirs, and the extinct carnivora of the tertiary de- 
posites, which must have long preceded the era of man, is 
yet but as yesterday compared with the age of the great 
reptiles of the lias and oolite ; and the age of these again 
must have been inconceivably posterior to the era of the 
fishes and mollusea of the first fossiliferous strata. Although, 


then, we cannot, with many physiologists, maintain that 
species are immutable, and exempt from the laws of change, 
to which all organic matter seems subject, we can say that 
species may remain unchanged for periods of time beyond 
any to which our inquiries, for the purposes of useful infer- 
ences, need extend. It is matter of merely speculative in- 
quiry, whether now, as in all the period of the past, the 
earth, the air, and the relations which connect external 
nature with the living kingdom, are not undergoing pro- 
gressive though insensible changes, which may in the course 
of unmeasured periods of time, react upon all the existing 
species, not excepting man himself. It suffices for us to know 
that species are to us realities, and remain constant in their 
essential characters for a time which we cannot compute. 

But there is a class of changes in organic forms which fall 
more within our cognizance, and which merit our attention 
in an especial degree ; this is the class of changes, which 
produce what we term Varieties or Races, in which the spe- 
cific type is generally so far preserved that the animals may, 
with more or less certainty, be referred to it, although very 
often the divergence is so great that nothing can be traced 
beyond the affinities which we terrn generic. The human 
races, as well as the lower tribes, are subject to this class of 
changes, under the influence of temperature, food, habitudes, 
and other agencies. 

Man, it has been seen, of all the Mammalia, constitutes a 
Genus, into the circle of which none of the tribes, even the 
nearest to him in conformation, enters. Many divisions have 
been made of the different groups of 'men according to the 
external characters, habits, traditions, and affinities of speech, 
which have been supposed to connect them. 

One great division has been supposed to comprehend, gene- 
rally, the inhabitants of Western Asia and Europe, from the 
first historical records to the present time. This group of 
nations has been termed Caucasian, from the mountainous 
regions of the Caucasus, where the inhabitants have been 


supposed to present the characters most typical of the group. 
Similarities of speech, customs, and traditions, strongly indi- 
cate a common lineage of these people, and we naturally 
look to some region of Western Asia as the great centre 
whence they have been spread. Let us assume for the mo- 
ment that this region is near to the western termination of 
the great Himalaya range, termed Hindu-koh, signifying 
literally the Indian Mountain, and corresponding in part 
with the ancient Aria, and that the race spread itself south- 
ward beyond the Indus, northward to near the Arctic Circle, 
westward into Arabia, and, by the Don and Bosphorus, to the 
extremities of Europe, and again into Africa by the Isthmus 
of Suez and the Red Sea ; and then we may understand the 
meaning of the term Caucasian as it has been employed by 
some, and Arian by others, to designate a great section of 
the human family. In this sense, the Arian or Caucasian 
Family comprehended the ancient Hindoos, who are supposed 
to have migrated southward beyond the Scinde ; the Assy- 
rians, Medes, and Persians, who founded early empires in 
the East ; the Scythians and others, who migrated north- 
ward, and were afterwards known in Europe as Goths, Scan- 
dinavians, Sarmatians, &c. ; the ancient Chaldeans, Arme- 
nians, Phoenicians, and other people, formerly inhabiting 
Asia Minor and Syria; the Arabians of Asia and Africa; 
the Celtse, Iberi, and other early colonists of Europe, who 
are supposed to have migrated westward from the countries 
south of the Euxine ; the Greeks, the Latins, and others, 
who occupied the same countries at a subsequent age. 
Amongst these people a certain relation exists, in customs as 
well as languages employed, from early times. Thus, traces 
of the Sanscrit, of which a dialect is still spoken near the 
Hindu-koh, is found in the Scandinavian and German lan- 
guages of Northern, and in the Celtic of Western, Europe. 
Further, the members of this group are supposed to be dis- 
tinguished from all the others by certain physical and psychi- 
cal characters. Their complexion varies with the climate, 


from the dusky colour of the Hindoo to the fine dark olive of 
the Central Asiatics, the swarthy tinge of the Greeks and 
Italians, and the florid complexions of the nations of the 
north. The face is oval, straight, and relatively small, with 
the features distinct, the nose tending to the aquiline, the 
mouth small, the teeth perpendicular. The hair is soft and 
slightly curling, black in the warmer countries, and of 
various colours in the colder, as black, flaxen, brown, red. 
The irides are generally dark when the skin is of that colour, 
but in other cases light-blue, with intervening shades. In 
this race the intellectual endowments of the species have 
been the most highly developed. With it have originated 
nearly all the sciences, and the most useful of the arts ; and 
in literature and arms it has hitherto surpassed, and yet sur- 
passes, the other races. 

Turning to the elevated regions of Central Asia about the 
70 of longitude east, at the great Altaic chain of mountains, 
termed by the ancients Imaus, and held by them to separate 
the Scythi of the West from the Scythi of the East, another 
group of races, or, as we may rather say, another great 
Family of mankind, presents itself, as if derived from some 
region to the east or south-east. This family is commonly 
termed Mongolian, from the supposed name of a great country 
of Eastern Asia, comprehended within the boundaries of 
Chinese Tartary. But the name Mongolia, it is believed, is of 
European origin, and applied erroneously to a great country 
of Asia ; the term Mog-huls, from which the name seems to 
have been taken, being merely applicable to a certain tribe of 
Tartars. Be this as it may, the Mongolian Family, so called, 
comprehends all the Kalmuks, and other allied tribes of East- 
ern Asia. It comprehends the inhabitants of Thibet, of China 
Proper, of Japan, of Corea, of the greater part of the coun- 
tries termed Indo-China. The Mongolian Family thus in- 
cludes a great proportion of the whole human race. It is 
characterised by the head tending to the square form, by 
the face being broad, the nose flat, the cheek-bones promi- 


nent, the eyes oblique, and the ears large. The colour of the 
skin tends to an olive-yellow ; the eyes are dark, the hair is 
black, straight, and thin, and the beard is scanty or wanting. 
These, the most striking characteristics of this immense 
group, distinguish the Mongolians, so called, from all the 
races of the family termed Caucasian. They have in certain 
cases been conquerors, formed great empires, and arrived at 
a considerable degree of stationary civilization ; but they are 
suspicious of strangers, tenacious of old usages, and have 
never arrived at distinction in science. They have formed a 
written language, eminently copious, but rude, inartificial, 
and wanting in the precision of grammatical construction. 

The term Malay, or Polynesian, has been applied to the 
inhabitants of the peninsula of Malacca, and the greater 
part of the inhabitants of Sumatra, Borneo, Java, and other 
Islands of the Eastern Archipelago, of New Zealand, and 
the Islands of the South Sea. In this race, or group of 
races, the head is somewhat narrow, the bones of the face 
are prominent, the nose is broad, the lips are thick. The 
colour of the skin varies from a tawny olive to nearly black, 
and the hair is dark and curled, but not what is termed 
woolly. These people, however, extending over a vast tract 
of ocean, and being in certain cases mixed in blood with 
other races, their characters vary so greatly, that it is impos- 
sible to reduce them to a common standard. They have the 
habits of islanders, and are, for the most part, bold, active, 
and of warm temperaments, but unforgiving, treacherous, 
and cunning. Within the limits, too, of the region of this 
group, are tribes altogether distinct in speech, customs, and 
external characters, and remaining in the savage state. 
Such are the inland tribes of some of the great islands of 
the Eastern Seas, and the black inhabitants of the insular 
continent of New Holland. 

In the great African Continent, the human race presents 
itself with characters which, like those of the other animal 
species of the same region, may be said to be peculiar to it. 


Of all the African Races, the most distinct is the true Negro, 
inhabiting a prodigious extent of country on either side of 
the equator, and fitted, by all the characters impressed upon 
his race, to inhabit the wild and burning regions which 
are proper to him. In the true Negro, the skull is narrow 
laterally, the forehead is sloping, the cheek-bones are pro- 
minent, the jaws elongated, the front teeth oblique, the lips 
thick, the nose is broad and flat, the irides are dark, and 
the hair is black and what is popularly termed woolly, and 
the colour of the skin approaches to a jet-black. This race 
has never yet exhibited great intellectual powers ; although, 
under the guidance of humane instruction, the youthful Afri- 
can has proved to be not unapt to learn all that we can 
teach to Europeans at a tender age. The temper of the 
people is eager, light, and joyous ; but their actions indicate 
want of reflection. They have, in some cases, united to 
form large communities, but these have been always barbar- 
ous, and maintained by the present tyranny of the chief. 
Although possessed of physical powers far exceeding those 
of the tribes which have settled in their country, they have 
seldom united their arms to arrest the progress of their ene- 
mies, or avenge the wrongs inflicted upon themselves. Few 
useful arts have yet penetrated their native wilderness, and 
the race seems at this hour to be little advanced beyond what 
it may be conceived to have been in the earliest times. 

But the African characters recede from the grosser forms 
typical of the true Negro, until they approach nearer to the 
Caucasian type. Of this character are some of the races of 
the interior, and above all, those which extend from the 
great Sahara towards the shores of the Mediterranean, east- 
ward through the Libyan deserts to the Nile, and southward 
through Nubia to the high lands of Abyssinia, and again 
into the countries of the Caffres ; and of this character, judg- 
ing from their delineations of the human figure, were the 
ancient Egyptians ; so that the Negro form, however typical 
of the African race, becomes insensibly modified under the 


influence of external agents. Through the Berebers, that 
is, the ancient inhabitants of Northern Africa, the Nubians, 
the Abyssinians, and others, there is a chain of connexion, 
indicated by physiological characters and ancient dialects, 
between the great African Family, and the Arabians, now 
termed Asiatic. But the Arabians are included, by almost 
all geographers and naturalists, in the Caucasian division 
of mankind, although grave doubts may exist with respect 
to the justness of this classification. The Arabians, in- 
deed, were early mixed in blood, and connected in speech, 
with the Western Asiatics ; but if we regard locality, ancient 
dialects, habits, and physical characters, the Arabians are 
more connected with the Berebers, the Nubians, and other 
Africans, than with the people of Asia or Europe. What 
contrast of form, temperament, and character, can be more 
striking than that between the pale Hollander, beside the 
dikes of mud which his labours have raised up, and the 
light and dusky Arab in his tent of skin, amid the burn- 
ing sands of his wild and desolate country. Yet, if we 
assign a common lineage to the Caucasian and Arabian 
groups, we must believe that the squat and clumsy peasant 
of the marshes of the Zuyder Zee, with his brawny limbs, 
is not only of* the same species, but of the same variety 
or race, as the wild wanderer of the southern deserts, with 
his swarthy skin, his coal-black hair, his keen dark eye, his 
well-braced muscles and sinewy form, properties of the body 
which, reacting, as it were, on the mind, have rendered him 
active, enthusiastic, bold, and free, enabling him to roll back 
the tide of conquest on the Northern Family, and become 
for a time the master of the fairest portions of the globe, 
nay, to found a religious faith which has enslaved, for more 
than a thousand years, a third part of the human race. 

Turning to the great American Continent, termed New, 
with relation to our knowledge of it, but which we have no 
reason to believe posterior in the order of existence to 
those parts of the world which we term Old, we find innu- 


merable animal species, and amongst these Human Beings, 
apparently as proper to the regions where they are found as 
those of Europe, Africa, and Asia, are to the Eastern hemi- 
sphere. But America, extending over all the varieties of 
climates in which living creatures can exist, its human in- 
habitants present great diversities of form and aspect, 
though conforming to a general order of characters, which 
may be termed American. The great distinction of the in- 
habitants is between those on either side of the elevated 
countries on the Caribbean Sea. The northern races gene- 
rally resemble the Eastern Asiatics more than they resemble 
the other families of mankind. The forehead is sloping, and 
the middle part of the cranium elevated, the iricles are dark, 
the face is broad across the cheeks, the mouth is wide, the 
lips are thick, the ears very large. The colour of the skin tends 
more or less to a copper-red, and the hair of the head is black, 
straight, and long. The southern races, again, exhibit cha- 
racters proper to their own region. If we compare the wild 
warrior of the Canadian forests with the feeble remnant of 
the misused Peruvian, the black Indian of the Caribbean 
Sea, the savage horseman of Paraguay, or the athletic hun- 
ter of Patagonia, we find differences as great as are employed 
to distinguish the inhabitants of the Caucasus from the Kal- 
muks of Eastern Asia ; but there is a relation between even 
the most distant tribes, as in the copper hue of the skin, the 
darkness of the eye, the lankness of the hair, which connects 
the American nations by a certain general similitude. There 
were in early times, it may be believed, partial mixtures 
with Asiatic, Polynesian, and even perhaps African colo- 
nists, yet we have no more reason to question that the 
Americans were, from the earliest distribution of animal 
species, as proper to the regions which they inhabited, as the 
Negroes to the intertropical countries of Africa, or the Cau- 
casians, so called, to Western Asia. Most of them had not 
advanced beyond the hunter state, though there are traces 
in the country of anterior inhabitants, and though empires 


had been formed of considerable power and splendour, yet 
destined to fall an easy prey to European strangers. 

Looking at the great diversities which present themselves 
in these different races of the human family, a natural curio- 
sity prompts us to inquire whether they are of one species ; 
and whether, on the assumption that they are of one species, 
they have sprung from the same stock, and spread over the 
earth from some common centre ; or whether they have been 
called into existence, either contemporaneously, or at diffe- 
rent epochs, according as the different parts of the earth be- 
came fitted for their reception. 

If, by species, we understand animals possessing certain 
characters in common, which we term specific, and having 
the power, which we see them to possess, of reproducing 
creatures having the same characters, there can be no diffi- 
culty in admitting that all the races of man, in so far as they 
have yet been examined, are of one species. If, indeed, we 
were to place beside a Persian of Ispahan, or a mountaineer 
of the Caucasus, a Negro of the Gambia, with his sooty skin, 
his wool- like hair, his projecting jaws ; or a Bushman of the 
Gariep, with his pigmy form, his yellow hue, his restless 
eye ; or a savage of Van Dieman's Land, with his lank hair, 
his large head, his slender limbs ; we might find it hard to 
believe that creatures so unlike were identical as species. 
But, great as the differences of external form here are, we 
fail to discover any difference of conformation which can be 
regarded as essential, or which we should call specific. The 
individuals of the most dissimilar tribes breed freely with 
one another, and the progeny has nothing of a hybridal cha- 
racter, but is as fruitful as the parents from which it springs : 
and, however dissimilar the races in question may appear in 
their external characters, there is nothing like that great 
dissimilarity which we continually see in creatures admitted 
to be of the same species, as the wild and domesticated Hog, 
and our Dogs of all sorts. 

The other question, whether the human races have all 


sprung from the loins of the same parents, or been called 
into existence in different regions contemporaneously, or at 
different epochs, though continually mixed with the question 
as to the identity of the species, is in no respect necessarily 
involved in it. Although we see far greater differences in the 
characters of animals produced by agencies which we can 
trace than in the different races of mankind, and therefore 
may reasonably believe that all men have proceeded from a 
common centre, and then have assumed, in the course of 
great periods of time, the characters which they now retain, 
yet this does not resolve the question as to which was the 
mode which the Creator, in his infinite wisdom, ordained for 
peopling the earth which he had called into existence ; whe- 
ther, by diffusing the species from one region of the earth, 
or from more than one. We are not entitled to assume 
that identical species cannot have been called into existence 
in different regions of the globe, either at the same or at 
different times. We know nothing of Creation, whatever 
fancies we may build up on our assumed knowledge. We 
may imagine that we can observe something of the first ap- 
pearance of life, as in the fungus, when it multiplies its or- 
ganized cells at the rate of some millions in an hour, or in 
the globules of the chyle, which, in their passage to the heart, 
become organized beings ; but of the modes or times in which 
species first manifest themselves in any given place, we are 
as ignorant as of the laws which determine species to their 
allotted forms. We may suppose that different parts of the 
world have produced identical species, as much as that differ- 
ent parts of the world have produced different species ; and 
it were absurd to seek to limit, as it were, the Creative power 
to our narrow conceptions, by arguing that, under the same 
laws by which unlike animals have been called forth in dif- 
ferent parts of the world, the like animals cannot have been 
so. It is no solution of the problem regarding the origin of 
man, to adopt, as has been recently done, peculiar definitions 
of the term species, as that a species consists of the like ani- 


mals proceeding from the same stock, or, in other words, from 
the same individual or pair of individuals. For this is not a 
logical definition, but a proposition, which itself involves the 
very question at. issue. It may be believed by every one 
that all men fall within the limits of the same specific form ; 
but it were to reason in a circle, to define species as being 
the like animals derived from a common stock, and thence to 
infer that all men are derived from a common stock, because 
they are like one another. All that we know of species, it 
has been said, is the similarity of the characters which we 
call specific, to which we may add the possession of a power, 
which we observe in all known species, to reproduce creatures 
possessing the like characters. But there is nothing in any 
known phenomena of the organic kingdom to shew, that in 
the animal any more than in the vegetable kingdom, it is a 
law of nature, that animals which fall within the limits of 
what we regard as the same specific form, must have been 
derived from a common stock. 

We can know nothing, then, by means of the unassisted 
reason, of the production of the human species ; and if we 
are permitted to reason concerning the times and modes of 
its diffusion over the earth, we must call to our aid analogy 
and reasonable probabilities, unless we are to assume that 
the dispersion of man was itself a miracle, exempt from the 
common course of natural events. It were rash, nay, impi- 
ous, to assert that man could not be, or has not been, called 
into existence in one part of the earth's surface, and dis- 
persed, as from a common centre, to all the parts of the 
world which he now inhabits. But treating the question as 
one on which we may lawfully employ our judgment, it is 
reasonable to inquire whether it be more consonant with the 
known course of natural events to infer that different races 
of men though within the limits of the same specific form,and 
so creatures of the same kind had been called forth in differ- 
ent regions of the earth to occupy it, or that one race only, 
and this produced in a single spot of a boundless surface, had 


been called into existence. We must remember that the 
time which chronology assigns to the period of the disper- 
sion, little more than 2000 years before the birth of our Sa- 
viour, is a period wonderfully short for such mighty changes. 
Arid it is hard to conceive, that, within periods of time ap- 
proaching to this, human creatures can have transported them- 
selves through desolate, and even yet almost inaccessible, re- 
gions, to the most distant islands of the remotest seas, nay, 
lived and multiplied until every trace of their ancestry had 
been lost, until every art which they had carried with them, 
even to every word of their own tongue, had been forgotten, 
and until they themselves had receded so far from the pris- 
tine type of their race, as to leave the naturalist to question 
whether they were not to be classed with an inferior tribe 
of beings. These are great difficulties, not to be removed 
by tracing the similarity of speech and customs, by which 
different sections of mankind are connected. For what does 
this similarity of speech and customs, even where it seems 
to be the most clearly established, prove 1 It may prove the 
relations established between tribes and nations after ages 
of strife, migrations, and admixture of races, but it cannot 
prove the relations between pristine tribes, every trace of 
whose very existence may have been lost. It has been be- 
lieved, that the people we call Hindoos extended themselves 
beyond the Indus within the historical sera, but who were the 
pre-existing inhabitants whom the Hindoos, under their Brah- 
minical leaders, subdued ? There are the vestiges of anterior 
races in the country as distinct from the Hindoo as the lat- 
ter is from the Kalmuk, in aspect, speech, customs, and tra- 
ditionary legends ; and in several of the great Islands of the 
Eastern Seas, are insulated tribes of savages wholly distinct 
from the other inhabitants, the manifest relicts of an anterior 
people. In Europe the Celtse are known to have settled from 
a period beyond the records of any history, and yet the Celtse 
were a people possessed of a religion, laws, an order of 
priests, and arts, comprehending the knowledge of metals. 


But all over the north of Europe, the relics are found of 
people assuredly anterior to the Celtse, who used stone- 
hatchets and flint-headed arrows, inferring a condition en- 
tirely savage. Now, when we compare languages as the 
proof of a common descent amongst tribes and nations, we 
must, in order to make our argument worth anything, com- 
pare the languages of people in the first ages, all the traces 
of whose speech we may suppose to have perished with the 
people themselves. When we compare the languages of a 
posterior era, after unknown periods of war. colonization, 
and the mixture of races, we may prove the connexion esta- 
blished between countries and their inhabitants, but cer- 
tainly not the pristine relation of the first people with one 
another, or with any common stem. Thus a race of men, 
we have seen, is assumed to have extended from the ancient 
Aria, southward into the plains of India, and northward 
into the wilds of Scythia, the manifest traces of whose lan- 
guage, the Sanscrit, are found in the speech of the Teutons 
of the north, of the Greeks of the west, of the Indians of 
the south. This proves the relation between the members 
of this people, but not the relations between races who, for 
anything we know, may have previously inhabited the same 
countries long before written speech was known. It is no- 
thing strange that there should be analogies in the language 
of different countries, when we consider that, beyond any re- 
cords of history and tradition, tribes and nations have been 
engaged in endless migrations and strife, exterminating or 
mingling with one another ; and that within the period called 
historical, empires have been formed, embracing large sec- 
tions of the whole human family. Further, all men have 
the like faculties and organs of speech, and it is not possible 
that there should not be analogies in the structure of lan- 
guages, even of the most distant and divergent tribes, and 
even similarity of words derived from the same natural 
sounds. But when we consider the faint similitudes which all 
the unsparing labour of philologists has been able to trace 



between the dialects of the rudest nations, whose language 
alone bears upon the question, we have less cause to wonder 
at the resemblance between them than at the radical diver- 
gence which they present, in sound, words, and construction. 
And with respect to similarities of customs, all men have, 
within certain limits, the same wants, and must, in innumer- 
able cases, be conducted to the same means of satisfying 
these wants ; and w r hen we connect with this general cause, 
the effects of intercourse during unknown periods of time, 
we have far less cause to wonder at the resemblances, than 
at the differences, in the customs of nations. 

It will be seen, then, that great difficulties present them- 
selves to the supposition of the derivation of all the varieties of 
mankind from a common centre, at least within the period 
which chronology assigns to the existence of the human race ; 
nor are difficulties of a different kind wanting, under any hypo- 
thesis we can form. It is not, however, necessary, with relation 
to our present inquiry, to pursue this subject. Whether we 
suppose all men to be of the same species, derived from a com- 
mon centre, or of the same species, derived from different 
centres, we equally reason on the assumption, that great 
changes have been produced on the individuals by the influ- 
ence of the agents affecting them. If we adopt the hypothesis 
of one centre of dispersion for all the races of mankind, we 
must suppose that change of place has converted the White 
man into a Negro, and may convert the Negro into a White 
man. If we suppose that the Primary Races of the species 
were spread from different centres, as the Negro from some 
part of intertropical Africa, the Caucasian from some country 
of Western Asia, the Mongolian from some region of the East, 
the Polynesian from one or more foci in the innumerable 
islands over which he is spread, and the American from re- 
gions proper to the great Continent to which he belongs, and 
so on ; we do not, therefore, infer that these Races are not 
severally subject to the influence of external agencies, and 
capable of undergoing great mutations, under different con- 


ditions of food, temperature, and habits. The Negro has all 
his grosser features softened as he recedes from the burning 
regions of swamp and jungle, where his most typical form is 
developed ; the Kalmuk loses much of his harsher features, 
as he becomes naturalized towards the confines of Europe, and 
even assumes a new aspect, when forced to inhabit the glacial 
regions of his own continent ; the Turcoman approaches 
more to the squat and sturdy form of the Mongolian Tartar 
as he extends eastward, while the Hindoo, acclimated in the 
valley of the Ganges, differs so widely from the native of the 
plains of Germany, that the aspect alone of the individuals 
would not allow us to identify them as being of a common 
lineage. These changes are the result of external agencies, 
and may be regarded as the adaptation of the animal form 
to new conditions. But the effect, as it may act on the or- 
ganism of the Negro, the Mongolian, the Caucasian, the 
Malay, must differ in each, and hence a great apparent mul- 
tiplication of races throughout the world may take place, 
although it may be the effect of the same agents acting on a 
few distinct primary forms. 

If, from the human species we turn to the inferior animals, 
we shall find the like evidences of the power of external 
agents to modify the animal form, and adapt it to new con- 
ditions of life. Certain animals, in the state of nature, have 
a limited habitat, and so present characters nearly uniform 
throughout ; others have a very wide range of place, in 
which case we never fail to find them more or less modified 
in their form and habits. The Common Wolf, the most 
bold and savage of the canine family, stretched over the 
greater part of the Old Continent, and is found in the New, 
from Behring's 'Straits to near the Isthmus of Panama. 
Under these immense limits he often seems so changed that 
he can scarcely be referred to the same specific type. The 
Bear extends from Norway along the limits of the Arctic 
Regions, and thence to the Caucasus and all eastward, 
wherever woods suited to his habitudes exist, but so changed 


that he can scarcely be identified with the Brown Bear of 
the Norwegian Alps. In these and other cases, the changes 
produced furnish continual matter of debate to zoologists, 
whether the animals are to be regarded as distinct species, 
or as varieties of the same species. 

The changes produced on animals in a state of nature by 
different circumstances, as the nature of the country they 
inhabit, the means of obtaining their food, temperature, 
and altitude, are often very great ; but it is when they are 
reduced to the domesticated state, that all the changes which 
they are capable of undergoing are manifested in the great- 
est degree. Sometimes, as in the case of the Dog, it would 
seem as if the influence of human reason worked a charm 
upon their nature, nay, modified the form of their bodies, as 
if to suit them for new services. Sometimes by the mere 
supply of aliment, different in kind from that which they 
procure in the natural state, or in greater quantity, the 
form of the body changes, and with this their instincts and 
habits ; and further, this change in their conformation is 
capable, under certain limits, of being transmitted to their 
descendants, and, by continued reproduction, of producing a 
new breed, variety, or race. 

The Wild Hog, which extends over the greater part of the 
Old Continent, is the undoubted progenitor of the common 
domesticated races of Europe. When this powerful and soli- 
tary creature is subjected to domestication, we shall find, in 
the sequel, that not only his form, but all his habits change. 
He may be said, in fact, to become a new species ; and he 
transmits all his acquired characters to his descendants. The 
parts of his conformation regarded as the most constant in 
the discrimination, not only of species but of genera, change 
under the new relations in which he is placed. In the 
wild state, he has six incisor teeth in the upper, and six in 
the lower jaw ; but, under the effect of domestication, the 
number is generally reduced to three in each jaw. The num- 
ber of his dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and caudal vertebrae, vary 


so much, that it may be asserted, that he differs far more 
from the Hog in the state of liberty, than many animals re- 
garded as distinct species differ from one another. 

Amongst ruminating animals, the Ox and the Sheep are 
subject to great changes of form and character, dependent 
upon the kind and abundance of aliment. With increased 
supplies of food, the abdominal viscera become enlarged, and 
other parts partake of corresponding modifications of form. 
To suit the increased size of the stomach and intestinal canal, 
the trunk becomes larger in all its dimensions ; the respira- 
tory organs adapt themselves to the increased dimensions of 
the alimentary canal, which is indicated to the eye by a 
change in the form of the chest ; the limbs become shorter 
and farther apart, and the body being nearer the ground, 
the neck becomes more short ; various muscles, from disuse, 
diminish in size, and the tendency to obesity increases. With 
the form of the animals, their power of active motion dimi- 
nishes, and they acquire habits adapted to their changed 
condition. These new characters they communicate to their 
progeny ; and thus races differing from those which, in the 
state of nature, would exist, are produced. 

The Carnivorous animals, in like manner, when taken from 
the state of nature, and made to reproduce in a state of 
slavery, manifest their subjection to the same laws of change. 
The size and proportion of their organs of digestion and re- 
spiration, nay, of the brain, the organ of thought, change ; 
and with these, the relative proportion of the head, limbs, 
and other parts, as we shall see in the sequel, in the case of 
the Dog, who becomes almost plastic under the habitudes to 
which we inure him. 

And if we turn from quadrupeds to the feathered tribes, 
we shall find the like proofs of the power of food and habi- 
tudes to change the form, and with it the very instincts of 
the animals. The Domestic Goose is derived from the Wild 
of the same species, which inhabits the boundless marshes 
of northern latitudes. This noble bird visits us on the ap- 


proach of the arctic winter, in those remarkable troops which 
all of us have beheld cleaving the air like a wedge, often at 
a vast height, and sometimes only recognised by their shrill 
voices amongst the clouds. When the eggs of this species 
are obtained, and the young are supplied with food in unli- 
mited quantity, the result is remarkable. The intestines, 
and with them the abdomen, become so much enlarged, that 
the animal nearly loses the power of flight, and the powerful 
muscles that enabled him, when in the wild state, to take 
such flights, become feeble from disuse, and his long wings 
are rendered unserviceable. The beautiful bird that out- 
stripped the flight of the eagle, is now a captive without a 
chain. A child will guide him to his resting-place with a 
wand, and he is unable to raise himself by flight above the 
walls of the yard that confine him ; and he gives birth to a 
race of creatures as helpless and removed from the natural 
condition as he himself had become. 

The Wild Duck, too, affords us a similar example. This 
wary bird arrives in flocks from the vast morasses of the 
colder countries. Many pairs remain in the swamps, pools, 
and sedgy rivers, of lower latitudes ; but the greater number 
retrace their flight to the boundless regions where they 
themselves have been hatched, and where they can rear their 
young in safety. If the eggs of this bird be taken, and the 
young be supplied with food in the manner usual in the do- 
mestic state, the animals will have changed the form, in- 
stincts, and habits of their race. Like the Goose, they lose 
the power of flight by the increased size of their abdomen, 
and the diminished power of their pectoral muscles ; and 
other parts of their body are altered to suit this conforma- 
tion. All their habits change ; they lose the caution and 
sense of danger which, in their native state, they possessed. 
The male no longer retires with a single female to breed, but 
becomes polygamous, and his progeny lose the power and 
the will to regain the freedom of their race. The Swan, the 
noblest of all the water-fowls, becomes chained, as it were, 


to our lakes and ponds, by the mere change of his natural 

The common gallinaceous fowls, in the state of nature, 
live amongst trees, and, when subjugated, still retain the 
desire to roost on elevated objects. But they can now with 
difficulty ascend the perches prepared for them ; their abdo- 
minal viscera having extended, their bodies have enlarged 
posteriorly, the breast has become wider, and the neck more 
short, and their wings having become insufficient to support 
the increased weight of their bodies, they have almost lost 
the power of flight ; and so changed is their entire conforma- 
tion, that naturalists can but conjecture from what parent 
stock they have been derived. 

Besides the effect of increased or diminished supplies of 
food in modifying the animal form, much is to be ascribed to 
temperature, humidity, altitude, and, consequently, the rarity 
or density of the air. The effect of heat is everywhere ob- 
served, as it modifies the secretions which give colour to the 
skin, and the degree of covering provided for the protection 
of the body, whether wool or hair. In the case of the human 
species, the effects of temperature on the colour of the skin, 
and, with this, on the colour of the eyes and hair, are sufficient- 
ly known. We cannot pass from the colder parts of Europe 
to the warmer, without marking the progressive diversities of 
colour, from the light complexion of the northern nations, 
to the swarthy tinge of the Spaniards, Italians, and Greeks ; 
and when we have crossed the Mediterranean into Africa, 
the dark colour, which is proper to all the warmer regions of 
the globe, everywhere meets the eye. The Jews, naturally 
as fair as the other inhabitants of Syria, become gradually 
darker, as they have been for a longer or shorter time accli- 
mated in the warmer countries ; and in the plains of the 
Ganges, they are as dark as Hindoos. The Portuguese who 
have been naturalized in the African colonies of their nation, 
have become entirely black. If we suppose, indeed, the great 
races of mankind to have been called into existence in differ- 


ent regions, we must suppose that they were born with the 
colour, as well as the other attributes, suited to the climates 
of the countries which they were to inhabit. It accords with 
this supposition, that the Negro remains always black, even 
in the highest latitudes to which he has been carried ; and 
that the black races of the Eastern Islands retain the colour 
proper to them in the mild temperature of Van Diemen's 
Land. The Mongolian, even in the coldest regions of North- 
ern Asia, retains the hue distinctive of his family, but with a 
continually deepening shade as he approaches to the inter- 
tropical countries. The native of China, of a dull yellow 
tint at Pekin, is at Canton nearly as dark as a Lascar. The 
American Indian retains his distinctive copper hue amid the 
snows of Labrador ; but, on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, 
becomes nearly as black as an African. 

Temperature likewise affects the size and form of the body. 
The members of the Caucasian group towards the Arctic 
Circle are of far inferior bulk of body to the natives of tem- 
perate countries. The Central Asiatics, in elevated plains, 
are sturdy and short, the result of an expansion of the 
chest ; the Hindoos are of slender form and low physical 
powers, so that they have almost always yielded to the 
superior force of the northern nations, from the first in- 
vasion of the Macedonians, to the ultimate establishment 
of European power in the Peninsula. The Negro, on the 
other hand, in the hottest and most pestilential regions of 
the habitable earth, where the Caucasian either perishes, or 
becomes as slender as a stripling, is of a strength and sta- 
ture which would be deemed great in any class of men, 
affording a strong presumption in favour of the opinion of 
the distinctness of his race, and its special adaptation to the 
region in which it has been placed. 

In quadrupeds, the effects of temperature are everywhere 
observable in the covering provided for their body, whether 
wool or hair, and which, in the same species, is always more 
abundant in the colder than in the warmer countries. In 


all quadrupeds there is a growth of down or wool under- 
neath the hair, and more or less mixed with it. In warm 
countries, this wool is little if at all developed ; but, in the 
colder, it frequently becomes the principal covering of the 
skin, forming, along with the hair, a thick fur. In the warm- 
est regions, the domestic sheep produces scarcely any wool ; 
in temperate countries he has a fleece properly so called ; 
and in the coldest of all, his wool is mixed with long hair 
which covers it externally. The wool, an imperfect conduc- 
tor of heat, preserves the natural temperature of the body, 
and thus protects the animal from cold, while the long hair 
is fitted to throw off the water which falls upon the body in 
rain or snow. But in the warm season the wool, which 
would be incommodious, falls off, to be renewed before win- 
ter, while the hair always remains. The Dog, too, has a 
coat of wool, which he loses in countries of great heat, but 
which, in colder countries, grows so as to form, along with 
the hair, a thick fur, so that, in certain colcT countries, there 
have been formed breeds of dogs to produce wool for cloth- 
ing. The dogs of Europe conveyed to warm countries fre- 
quently lose even their hair, and become as naked as ele- 
phants, and in every country their fur is suited to the nature 
of the climate. 

Similar to the effects of temperature is that of humidity, 
the hair becoming longer and more oily in the moister coun- 
tries. Even within the limits of our own Islands, the Ox of 
the western coasts, exposed to the humid vapours of the At- 
lantic, has longer hair than the Ox of the eastern districts. 
Even the effect of continued exposure to winds and storms 
may modify parts of the animal form. There are certain 
breeds of gallinaceous fowls which are destitute of the rump 
so called. Most of the common fowls of the Isle of Arran, 
on the coast of Scotland, have this peculiarity. This little 
island consists of high hills, on which scarcely a bush exists 
to shelter the animals which inhabit it from the continued 
gales of the Atlantic. The feathers of a long tail might in- 


commode the animals, and therefore, we may suppose, they 
disappear ; and were peacocks to be reared under similar 
circumstances, it is probable, that, in the course of successive 
generations, they would lose the beautiful appendage which 
they bring from their native jungles. 

The effects, likewise, of altitude are to be numbered 
amongst those which modify the characters of animals. In 
general, the animals of mountains are smaller and more agile 
than those of the same species inhabiting plains. In man, 
the pulse increases in frequency as he ascends into the at- 
mosphere, so that, while at the level of the sea. the number 
of beats is 70 in a minute, at the height of 4000 feet the 
number exceeds 100. The air being rarer, a greater quan- 
tity of it must be drawn into the lungs to afford the oxygen 
necessary to carry off the excess of carbon in the system. 
But gradually, as man and other animals become naturalized 
in an elevated country, the digestive and respiratory organs, 
and with these the capacity of the chest and abdomen, become 
suited to their new relations. Humboldt remarks on the ex- 
traordinary development of the chest in the inhabitants of 
the Andes, producing even deformity ; and he justly observes, 
that this is a consequence of the rarity of the air which de- 
mands an extension of the lungs. 

The effects have been referred to of use or exercise in mo- 
difying certain parts of the animal form. The limbs of many 
animals inured or compelled to speed become extended in 
length, as of the dogs employed in the chase of the swifter ani- 
mals. The limbs of an animal deprived of the means of mo- 
tion become feeble and small, as the wings of domesticated 
birds. In the natural state, the cow has a small udder, yet 
sufficient to contain the milk which her young requires ; in 
the domesticated state, by milking her, the organ becomes 
enlarged, so as to contain a quantity of milk, beyond what 
the wants of her own offspring demand. Nor are the charac- 
ters thus acquired confined to the individuals on which they 
have been impressed, but may be transmitted to their pos- 


te-rity. Some of the wild horsemen of the plains of South 
America are, from infancy, continually on horseback, and 
their limbs are observed to become slender and almost unfit 
for walking, which characters reappear in the children of the 
tribe. Amongst the causes, then, which tend to form va- 
rieties, are to be numbered the habitudes of animals, whether 
in the wild or domesticated state. 

Of the means by which the animal organism becomes 
adapted to new relations we know nothing. We see that 
within the limits of the specific form, animals become suited 
to the nature and abundance of their aliment, to the condi- 
tion of the external air with respect to temperature, humi- 
dity, and density, and to the habits imposed upon them for 
obtaining their vegetable food when they are herbivorous, or 
capturing their prey when they feed on flesh ; but how or 
why this is, we know no more than how or why animals as- 
sume and preserve the form proper to their species. We 
may well believe that species are called forth, and their 
forms placed in the fitting relation with external nature, in 
obedience to some grand system of Natural Laws, the results 
of which we may hope in certain cases to trace, but of the 
efficient cause of which we cannot hope to obtain a know- 
ledge. But when we speak of causes in common language, 
we do not, it is well known, refer to what metaphysicians 
term efficient causes, but to the antecedents of those pheno- 
mena which we term effects ; and it is in this sense that we 
say that the causes of the varieties of animal species are 
food, climate, habitudes, and the other agencies whose effects 
we have the means of observing. 

But all the causes enumerated would not of themselves be 
sufficient to form permanent varieties or breeds, were it not 
for that other law of the animal economy by which animals 
are enabled to communicate the characters acquired to their 
progeny, and by which the latter are enabled to retain those 
characters with more or less constancy. 

That animals which, from any cause, have acquired a pecu- 


liar conformation, may transmit the same properties of form 
to their young, and these again to their descendants, has been 
matter of observation in every age. The greyhound com- 
municates to his progeny, the flexible neck, the long back, 
the slender agile limbs, which fit him for capturing his prey 
by speed ; the blood-hound transmits his expanded nostril, 
fitted for that surpassing sense of smell which enables him 
to follow the evanescent traces of his victim upon the ground ; 
the bull-dog transmits to his young his muscular form and 
powerful jaws. No one ever expects to see two greyhounds 
produce an animal like a terrier ; two blood-hounds, one re- 
sembling a shepherd's cur; two bull-dogs, any animal dif- 
ferent in essential characters from themselves. And in all 
those varieties of the other domesticated animals which we 
term breeds, the constancy of the law of transmitted proper- 
ties is alike manifested. The Merino sheep communicates to 
its young the properties which it has acquired on the moun- 
tain pastures of Spain, of producing a short unctuous wool, 
and this in localities so different as in the granitic soils of 
Sweden, the plains of Silesia, the sands of the Cape of Good 
Hope, and the myrtle forests of New Holland. The Horse 
of the Arabian deserts, wherever he is carried, communicates 
to his descendants the properties distinctive of his race. The 
great Black Horse of the meadows of Flanders transmits to 
his progeny the massive form and very colour which he has 
himself acquired ; the Race-Horse of England, the conforma- 
tion which adapts him to rapid motion ; the Pony of Norway, 
the characters which have fitted him for a country of heaths 
and mountains : and so on in every case where animals, by 
successive reproduction with one another, have acquired the 
common properties which constitute a breed. 

In the human species, that similarity of features which is 
termed family likeness, is a familiar example of the same 
effect, not only manifesting itself in the immediate descend- 
ants, but reappearing often after several generations. The 
community of character which constitutes national resem- 


blance, is matter likewise of common observation. By the 
successive reproduction between the individuals of a tribe or 
nation, a common set of characters is by degrees acquired, 
which, becoming permanent, generate a true race. This 
effect is most notable in small and insulated tribes, whose 
members intermarry only with one another. In the Ameri- 
can forests, many of the tribes of Indians can be distinguished 
from one another at a glance. In the case of the Celtic na- 
tives of Europe, the Clans became frequently as much dis- 
tinguished from one another by feature as by their mutual 
hatred ; and the characters which they had acquired are in 
many cases retained by their descendants to the present 
hour. In the countries of the East, where the barrier of 
castes had been established, all the distinctions of race are 
seen to be established, so that the members of different castes 
can be discriminated from one another as readily as the in- 
habitants of distant countries. 

It has been frequently observed, that what are termed ac- 
cidental variations are susceptible of being transmitted and 
rendered permanent characters. Some persons have been 
born with six fingers or toes, and this peculiarity being trans- 
mitted, has continued in the same family for generations. 
The case of a family in England, whose bodies were covered 
with cuticular appendages resembling the quills of porcu- 
pines, has been often cited ; and a breed of sheep in America 
was procured, having short limbs resembling those of an 
otter, and therefore termed the otter breed. We cannot, 
however, term such varieties accidental. There is nothing 
in the phenomena of nature, to which the term accident can 
be justly applied. The characters were doubtless the result 
of some organic change proper to the animals in which they 
appeared, and their transmission to their progeny is only the 
exemplification of a law common to other cases of transmitted 

The permanence of characters acquired by varieties is often 
wonderfully great. In the sculptured monuments of the 


Egyptians, are to be found the delineation of features which 
may still be traced in the degraded Fellahs of the country. 
The Jews, after the lapse of many centuries, retain, in in- 
numerable cases, the lineaments of their race, and although 
influenced, in the colour of the skin, by effects of temperature, 
may yet be discriminated, in countries where they have been 
naturalized, as a distinct people. The wandering tribes of 
Gipsies, which are spread over a great part of Europe, retain, 
after many centuries, the essential characters of their race, 
the swarthy visage, the keen dark eye, the lank black hair. 
In India, there exist whole tribes as much distinct in aspect, 
as in speech and customs, from all around them, although 
every trace of their ancestry has been lost ; and in the same 
country the Parsees, driven beyond the Indus by the Moham- 
medans, seem to be nearly the same people as when expelled 
from their Persian homes. The Laplanders, amid the snows 
of the Arctic regions, have preserved the colour and features 
indicative of their Asiatic descent ; and the Negroes, reduced 
to bondage in a distant land, have preserved from age to age 
all the essential lineaments and characters distinctive of the 
African family. 

In the case of the domesticated quadrupeds, we find simi- 
lar evidences of the wonderful permanence of characters once 
acquired and imprinted on the animals. In certain breeds of 
oxen and sheep, the animals retain from generation to gene- 
ration their distinctive marks, the presence or absence of 
horns, the length and peculiar bending of these appendages, 
and even the minutest variations of colour, as spots of white 
or black on certain parts of the body. We are made ac- 
quainted with the peculiar colour of the horses of some of the 
barbarous hordes that entered Italy when the empire fell, 
as piebald and clouded ; and the colour is yet preserved in 
some of the races of modern Italy. 

The degree of permanence of the acquired properties of 
races may be supposed to bear some ratio to the time during 
which an intermixture of blood has been continued amongst 


the members of a common stock. When two animals of dis- 
similar characters breed together, the progeny partake of the 
properties of both parents. It is only by continued repro- 
duction between their descendants, that a common class of 
characters is acquired, and a true variety formed ; and the 
longer this successive reproduction and intermixture of blood 
are carried on, the more permanent may the transmitted 
characters be supposed to become. 

It appears, too, that the nearer animals are allied in blood, 
the more quickly is the similarity of characters distinctive of 
a breed acquired. In the practice of English breeders, it has 
not been uncommon to unite brothers with sisters, and pa- 
rents with their direct progeny, and to carry on this system 
for a long period. The physiological effect is remarkable, 
not only producing more quickly that community of charac- 
ters which constitutes a breed, but affecting the temperament 
and constitution of the animals. Under this system long 
continued, the animals manifest symptoms of degeneracy, as 
if a violence had been done to their natural instincts. They 
become, as it were, sooner old ; the males lose their virile" 
aspect, and become at length incapable of propagating their 
race, and the females lose the power of secreting milk in suf- 
ficient quantity to nourish their young. These effects may 
not for a time be very observable, but, by carrying on the 
system sufficiently far, they never fail to manifest themselves. 
Dogs continually reproduced from the same litter exhibit, 
after a time, the aspect of feebleness and degeneracy. The 
hair becomes scanty, or falls off, the size diminishes, the 
limbs become slender, the eyes sunk, and all the characters 
of early age present themselves. Hogs have been made 
the subjects of similar experiments. After a few generations, 
the victims manifest the change induced in the system. They 
become of diminished size, the bristles are changed into hair, 
the limbs become feeble and short, the litters diminish in 
frequency and in the number of the young produced, the 
mother becomes unable to nourish them, and, if the experi- 


ment be carried as far as the case will allow, the feeble and 
frequently monstrous offspring will be incapable of being 
reared up, and thus the miserable race will utterly perish. 

In the state of liberty these effects do not manifest them- 
selves. The instincts of the animals, it may be believed, 
cause them to choose the fitting mates for propagating their 
own race. In man, the continued alliance of individuals too 
near in blood, is prevented by conscience, and by feelings 
which seem innate. In carnivorous quadrupeds, what we 
term instinct supplies the place of judgment and reflection, 
and the females make choice of certain males in preference 
to others, by which means, it is to be believed, the race is 
preserved from deterioration by unsuitable combinations. In 
the case of the social herbivorous quadrupeds, the end is at- 
tained by the males being possessed of the power and desire 
to expel the feebler members of the herd during the season 
of sexual intercourse. The bull, with his powerful neck, 
possesses only short blunted horns, fitted, not to destroy his 
rivals by shedding their blood, but to expel them for a time 
from the herd. Thus he drives away the younger and feebler 
members, until compelled in his turn to yield to younger 
rivals. The ram is furnished with a thick forehead fitted for 
butting, by which means he is enabled to stun, without de- 
stroying, his rivals of the flock. In the deer tribes are pro- 
duced, at the season of sexual desire, those huge antlers by 
which the stronger males are enabled to terrify and subdue 
the weaker ; but these organs are temporary, and, after the 
season of rutting, fall off, to be renewed at the fitting time 
in the following year. By these and other means we are 
entitled to infer that a natural provision is made against the 
effects of unsuitable alliances of animals in the natural state. 
It is only when in the state of absolute slavery, that we are 
enabled to overcome the instinctive feelings of the animals 
subjected to our power, and to compel them to relinquish, as 
it were, their natural appetites. 

The characters which animals of the same species trans- 


mit to their descendants so as to constitute varieties, are, we 
have seen, those of the body ; but the mechanism of the 
body reacts upon the mind, and faculties which we term 
mental are therefore transmissive. No one can doubt that 
instinct is due to the mechanism of the nerves, and that 
even the higher attributes of reason are due to the develop- 
ment of the nervous system in the brain. But we can ob- 
tain, by breeding, animals with crania of different size and 
form, and consequently, with brains of different capacity and 
powers. Thus we can produce, by exercise, and by selection 
of the parents, a dog, whose cranium shall be small and flat, 
corresponding with the elongation of the muzzle, and who 
shall possess different propensities from another, whose brain 
being rounder, is larger, and who is enabled to exercise facul- 
ties for our preservation and defence, which we cannot dis- 
tinguish from reason. 

The Hog, we have seen, communicates to his posterity, 
along with his change of form, instincts and habits as diffe- 
rent from those existing in the natural state as if he had be- 
come a new species. From being a nocturnal animal, he has 
acquired a desire to seek his food during the day, and, from 
being solitary, he has become social, so that the male never, 
in a state of the utmost liberty we allow him, separates from 
his fellows of the herd. The subjugated birds convey to 
their descendants a new set of habitudes and propensities : 
they lose the once irresistible desire to retire in single pairs, 
and bring up the young apart, and become entirely polyga- 
mous. The greyhound, whose nose is small, and his body 
fitted for rapid motion, conveys, with the conformation of 
his organs, the desire of capturing his prey by speed alone. 
A puppy greyhound will, the first time he springs a covey of 
partridges, dash after them at speed; while the young pointer, 
with the great development which has been communicated to 
his nasal organ, will stand as if entranced, nay, if of a highly 
cultivated breed, will couch upon the ground like the parents 


who had been disciplined to the act. The young terrier, the 
first time he sees a rabbit, will track him to his burrow ; the 
young water-spaniel will strive to seize the objects which he 
sees floating in the stream, though he has never before be- 
held a rivulet ; the young bull-dog will fly at the throat of 
the first animal that assails him. The race-horse, to whom 
we have communicated the conformation which suits him for 
rapid motion, will manifest the fiery spirit proper to him, by 
his mother's side, a few hours after birth. The Arabian 
horse, with his broad and high forehead, indicating a larger 
development of the brain, manifests a far superior sagacity 
to the humbler horse of inferior lineage. Of the breeds of 
the domestic sheep, some are acclimated in countries of heaths 
and mountains, and some in the richer plains. Each has 
acquired the conformation which suits him to these condi- 
tions. If we take the mountain-lamb from its mother's teat 
at the very birth, and bring it to the valley below, we shall 
find it still, when grown to maturity, prefer the smaller 
grasses, the wild thyme, and other plants of mountains, to 
the richer herbage, and betake itself to the arid eminences 
of its pasture-fields in preference to the sheltered hollows, 
and communicate these desires to its offspring. Are not 
such propensities as these mental, and the result of a con- 
formation of the animal organs, and consequently transmis- 
sive from the parents to the young ? Thus, habits acquired 
may assuredly be communicated from animal to animal. We 
cannot indeed suppose that a young puppy would turn a spit, 
or dance to a tune, because its parents had been taught to 
do so, but we can suppose that if a race of dogs had been 
compelled, from generation to generation, to dance and turn 
spits, they would acquire the conformation which would suit 
them to perform these offices ; which would be nothing more 
than one of innumerable examples of the progressive adap- 
tation of the form of animals to the uses to which they are 

Even mutilation of the body may, in certain cases, produce 


partial changes of conformation, which, being communicated, 
become permanent characters. If one organ is injured or 
removed, a provision is frequently made to compensate the 
loss. In some parts of Scotland it appears to have become 
a practice to scoop out the horns of young cattle, on the sup- 
position that the animals would become more quiet, and less 
apt to attack or gore one another. It would appear that the 
system of the animal tended to repair this injury by a larger 
development of the bony ridge of the forehead, from which 
the osseous nuclei of the horns proceed ; and that this pro- 
cess, carried on from generation to generation, became at 
length a character, so that a hornless breed was produced. 
There is a race of shepherds' dogs in this country, in which 
it appears it had become a fashion to shorten the tails of 
the animals. Now, a diminution of the caudal vertebrae may 
produce a modification of the sacral in contact with them, 
and thus a peculiar conformation be communicated to the 
animals, which may become permanent by successive repro- 
duction. Whether this be the origin of the peculiarity of 
the race of dogs in question, cannot be determined ; but it 
is known, that when, from any cause, dogs are born destitute 
of tails, the peculiarity may be communicated to their de- 
scendants, and become permanent.* 

Characters, then, of form, and of habits and instincts the 
results of form, may be communicated from animals to their 
progeny, and form Varieties, Races, or Breeds. We distin- 
guish a species from a variety by this, that in the species 
we regard the modification of a higher or more general type, 
namely, of a genus, tribe, or family ; in the variety, the modi- 
fication of a lower or less general type, namely, of a species. 
But the variety is likewise the modification of the more gene- 

* There is an authentic record, quoted by Dr James Anderson, of a cat 
which was accidentally deprived of its tail when young. The kittens of this 
animal were born without tails, which character their descendants retained as 
long as they were kept free from intermixture with other breeds ; and in the 
Isle of Man, at this day, all the native cats have the tails short or rudimental. 


ral type, and there is, thus far, no distinction between the va- 
riety and the species. It may be said, indeed, that the charac- 
ters of the species are more lasting than those of the varie- 
ty : but, unless we are to assume that the forms of animals are 
immutable, this is a difference in degree and not in kind ; 
and a variety, therefore, does not differ in kind from a spe- 
cies. It may readily be supposed, then, that with respect to 
certain animals, questions may arise, whether they be species 
or varieties. But if the only real difference between a spe- 
cies and variety be, that the characters of the one are more 
lasting than those of the other, innumerable cases must pre- 
sent themselves, in which we cannot determine whether a 
given animal be what we call a species or a variety. Yet 
eager debates are continually carried on by naturalists whe- 
ther certain animals are to be regarded as species, or as 
varieties. Thus, the Common Wolf of America differs some- 
what in aspect from the Wolf of Europe, and some natu- 
ralists hold that he is specifically distinct ; but all that we 
can truly say is, that the wolf of Europe and the wolf of 
America present varieties of that form which we term Wolf, 
and our knowledge of the animal conducts us no further. 
The Domesticated Dogs present greater varieties of form 
and characters than many animals which are considered 
to be specifically different. The question has arisen whe- 
ther these dogs are of different species or of one species? 
The resolution of the question, it is manifest, depends mainly 
upon the meaning which we assign to our own terms. If we 
are to include, under the same specific form, the long muzzle 
and slender limbs of the Greyhound, and the short muzzle 
and stout limbs of the Bull-dog, then the Greyhound and the 
Bull-dog are of one species ; if we hold that the elongated 
muzzle and slender limbs of the one constitute a specific dis- 
tinction, then the Greyhound and the Bull-dog are of different 
species according to our definition. 

But a species, it has been supposed, difl'ers from a variety 
in this, that while animals of different species will not breed 


together and produce a fruitful progeny, varieties of the 
same species will breed together, and produce a fruitful pro- 
geny. We shall be able, perhaps, in the sequel, to shew the 
fallacy of this rule, as it is applied to many animals. It is 
true that observation shews that animals which diverge from 
one another beyond certain limits do not breed together, or, 
breeding together, do not produce a fruitful progeny ; but it 
is equally true, that animals may diverge from one another 
beyond the limits of forms which we call specific, and yet 
breed together. Many examples of this occur in the case of 
the gallinaceous fowls which we rear in poultry-yards, and 
of the little singing-birds brought up in cages ; and in the 
case of fishes, experiments, from the facility of fecundifying 
the sperm, are easily made to shew that not only animals 
so divergent as species, so called, but as genera, may be 
made to produce a fertile progeny. The Sheep and the Goat 
breed together, and produce a progeny as fruitful as the pa- 
rents ; yet the sheep and the goat are held to be distinct ge- 
nera. They are distinct genera, indeed, according to our 
classification, but it appears, from the effect, that they do 
not diverge so much from one another in those characters 
which enable animals to breed together, as to be incapable 
of producing a common race ; and so it will be seen, in the 
sequel, it is with other animals reduced to the state of do- 
mestication. In the natural state, indeed, unions of this, 
kind rarely take place, a provision having been apparently 
made against their occurrence, in the habits and instincts of 
the animals themselves. Species in the state of nature will 
very rarely intermix ; and even varieties, produced by arti- 
ficial breeding, tend to preserve themselves unmixed, when 
in a state of liberty. If a flock of Merino Sheep, consisting 
of rams and ewes, be mixed together in the same field with 
a similar flock of the Heath Sheep of Scotland, there will be 
na mixture between them, the females of each selecting the 
rams of its own variety. In Wales, there are two vai^eties 
of Sheep, one of which inhabits the higher mountains, and 


the other a lower range ; yet these sheep, though mingled in 
the commons of the country for ages, preserve themselves 
distinct ; and even the female of the Dog, if left free to 
choose her mate, will almost always make the selection of 
one of her own kind, a greyhound of a greyhound, a terrier 
of a terrier, and so on. Were not some natural provision of 
this kind made, we might expect to meet innumerable hy- 
bridal animals in the state of nature ; for there can be no 
reasonable doubt that many animals which we call distinct 
species, are capable of breeding together, and producing a 
fruitful offspring. 


The characters, in animals, of external form, may be com- 
municated, it has been seen, from the parents to the young ; 
and upon the constancy of this effect may be said to be 
founded the whole principle of what is termed Breeding, 
whether pursued to the degree of forming distinct varieties, 
or of merely communicating to individuals the peculiar cha- 
racters which we desire them to possess. If we would form 
a variety or breed, we must select the animals possessed of 
the characters sought for, and, by breeding from the progeny, 
endeavour to give permanence to the characters acquired. 
If we wish to procure individual Horses possessing the fa- 
culty of speed, we unite in blood those which possess, in the 
requisite degree, the form and properties which we seek to 
reproduce in the progeny ; if we design to procure Horses 
having the strength fitted for labour, and the exertion of their 
powers in draught, we select the males and the females whose 
external form indicates their adaptation to the uses required ; 
if we are to propagate animals for the production of muscle 
and fat, we choose for the parents those whose conformation 
indicates the faculty of soon arriving at maturity, and readily 
assimilating nourishment. 


Of the domesticated animals, that whose form and proper- 
ties have excited the greatest observation and interest, is 
the Horse, whether designed for the exercise of the powers 
of speed, for the bearing of burdens and drawing of loads, or 
tor any other use to which he is adapted. 

In the Horse, as in all the mammiferous animals, there is 
the long chain of distinct bones termed vertebrae, which, 
bound together by joints, cartilage, and ligaments, consti- 
tute the vertebral or spinal column. Each vertebra has a 
perforation through it, so that, when the whole vertebrae are 
connected together, there is a continued canal passing along 
the interior. Besides the perforation for forming this canal, 
each vertebra has exterior projections, two lateral, termed 
transverse processes, and one upwards, termed the spinous 
process, the latter forming that sharp elevation of bones 
which commences with the withers, and extends along the 
back. At the anterior termination of the spinal column is 
the cranium, connected with which are -the jaws and other 
bones of the face. The bones of the face consist of two divi- 
sions, the first, the lower jaw in one large piece ; the second, 
the upper maxillary bones, and various other pieces united 
together. In the sockets of the bones of both jaws are in- 
serted the teeth. These consist of 6 incisor teeth in each 
jaw, that is, of 12 incisors, or, as they are called, nippers ; of 
2 canine teeth or tusks in each jaw, one on each side of the 
incisors, that is, of 4 canine teeth ; and next to these, and 
at a distance from them, of 6 molar or grinding teeth on both 
sides of each jaw, that is, of 24 molar teeth in all. The dis- 
position of the teeth, the organs of mastication, may be re- 
presented thus : 

Molar. Canine. Incisor. Canine. Molar. 

Upper jaw, .6 1 6 1 6 

Under jaw, .6 1 6 1 6 ' 

in all 40 teeth, the canine teeth being generally wanting in 
the female. 

The cranium is composed of ten distinct pieces, namely, 
the two frontal bones which form the forehead, the temporal 



bones which lodge the internal organs of hearing, and others. 
It forms a cavity separated from the chambers of the nose, 
the eyes, and the mouth. Contained within it, and filling it, 
is the Brain, the substance of which passes along the whole 
vertebral column, and terminates in the upper vertebrae of 
the tail, so that the spinal cord is a prolongation of the 
nervous matter of the brain. Proceeding from the brain and 
spinal cord, pass to the organs of the special senses, and to 
every sensible part of the body, the fine cords termed Nerves, 
made up of minute tubular filaments, each of which filaments 
is finer than the spider's thread, and separately invisible to 
the unassisted eye. 

Next to the cranium are the cervical vertebrae, or bones of 
the neck, in number 7 ; next to these are the dorsal vertebrae, 
or bones of the back, 18 in number ; next are the lumbar ver- 
tebrae, or bones of the loins, 5 or 6 in number ; next is the sa- 
crum, so called, consisting of 5 vertebrae united together, and 
forming a single piece ; and last are the caudal vertebras, or 
bones of the tail, varying in number from 13 to 18. 

In the following figure, 1 is the lower jaw, 2, 3, 4. 5, are 

Fin. 1. 

the oth 


the other bones of the face, b b the cervical vertebrae, c c the 
dorsal vertebrae, d d the lumbar vertebrae, e e the sacral ver- 
tebrae united into one piece, and / is the caudal vertebrae or 
bones of the tail. 

With the vertebral column are connected, (1.) the ribs Hi; 
(2.) the scapula or shoulder-blade^; (3.) the bones of the pel- 
vis p. With the shoulder-blade are connected the fore-limbs, 
consisting, (1.) of the humerus or great bone of the shoulder 
k; (2.) the fore-arm I m, of which m is the elbow ; (3.) of the 
bones of the carpus or knee n ; (4.) of the cannon-bone or 
shank o ; and (5.) of the bones of the pastern and foot 6. 
^Vith the pelvis, p, are connected the bones of the posterior 
limbs, namely, (1.) the femur or great bone of the thigh q ; 
(2.) the patella or stifle-bone r ; (3.) the tibia or great. btfne 
of the leg s ; (4.) the bones of the hock t ; (5.) the cannon- 
bone u ; (6.) the bones of the pastern and foot 6. 

It is from the dorsal vertebrae, or bones of the back, that 
the ribs proceed, forming hoops which enclose the chest and 
a part of the abdomen. The number of dorsal vertebrae, and, 
consequently, of ribs on each side, is eighteen, but sometimes 
one, or even two more are developed. The ribs are mostly 
connected by cartilaginous bands with the scapula or breast- 
bone, of which the upper termination, h, appears in the figure. 
The breast-bone, flat and of a spongy consistence, is formed 
of several pieces united together, and is sometimes likened, 
from its form, to the keel of a ship. The chest contains the 
lungs and heart, and is separated by a muscular partition 
from the abdomen, which contains the liver, the stomach, 
the intestinal canal, the kidneys, and other organs. 

The shoulder-blade or scapula g, of which there is one on 
each side of the chest, is a flat triangular bone, with its nar- 
row end pointing obliquely downwards. It is attached to 
the chest by intervening muscles, and strengthened in its 
position by other powerful muscles with which it is con- 

Into a shallow cavity at the lower part of this bone, is in- 


serted the humerus or bone of the shoulder. The humerus 
corresponds with the bone of the same name in man, that is, 
with the portion of the human arm which is between the 
elbow and shoulder, but is so covered with muscles in the 
horse, as to seem to form a part of the trunk. It is bent 
downwards and backwards in a direction opposite to that of 
the shoulder-blade, by which disposition the parts act like a 
spring to lessen the effects of those terrible shocks which 
they sustain, when, the animal being raised from the ground, 
his weight is received upon his fore extremities. The head 
of the humerus working in a very shallow cavity in the shoul- 
der-blade, the bone has great freedom of motion. Its lower 
extremity is fitted by a hinge-like joint into the next in 
order of the bones of the limb, namely, the bone of the fore- 

The bone of the fore-arm corresponds with that portion of 
the human arm which is between the elbow and the wrist, 
but the fore-arm, in the human subject, consists of two bones, 
termed respectively radius and ulna. In the horse, there 
were likewise two bones in the young state, but they became 
joined together ; though the ulnar portion, as in the figure, 
is still to be distinguished projecting behind the upper part 
of the fore-arm, and receiving the name elbow in the horse 
as in man. To the elbow are attached powerful muscles, 
for extending the limb ; and its size is one of the points 
looked to by jockeys, as indicative of what is termed action. 

The part termed the knee in the horse corresponds with 
the wrist of the human arm, and is for this reason termed 
carpus. It is composed of seven, and sometimes of eight, 
small bones. These bones serve for the attachment of 
muscles, and for giving flexibility to the joint. By being 
many, the weight is divided amongst them, and thus the ha- 
zard of fracture or dislocation is lessened. They are sepa- 
rated by elastic cartilage, bound firmly together by ligaments, 
and kept constantly lubricated by a secreted liquid. They 
form an exceedingly strong and perfect joint, scarcely subject 

to rli&lru 



Fig. 2. 

to dislocation of parts, although, being the farthest removed 
from both extremities of the limb, they are at the part of it 
most apt to be injured. 

The next bones form what is termed the fore-leg of the 
horse, which consists of three bones, namely, the large can- 
non-bone, or shank, with the two smaller splint-bones, as 
they are called, behind. The splint-bones extend downwards 
for about two-third parts of the length of the principal bone, 
with which they are united by a ligamentous matter. This 
matter tends to become bone, and the ossification extending 
beyond the point of union of the bones, there is formed the 
bony tumour so common in the horse, Splint. 

The last of the series of bones of the 
limbs are those of the pastern and foot. 
The uppermost of these, the upper pas- 
tern, is jointed to the lower part of the 
cannon-bone. Inferiorly it is jointed to 
the lower pastern, or coronet-bone ; and 
the coronet-bone, again, is articulated 
with the coffin-bone, which is of a soft 
and spongy nature, and inclosed within 
the horny covering of the hoof. These 
several bones of the limb are more dis- 
tinctly represented in the accompanying 
figure, where s is the lower part of the 
shoulder-blade, h the humerus, work- 
ing, by its rounded head, into the socket 
of the scapula, / the fore-arm, e the 
elbow, c the carpus or knee, o the can- 
non-bone, or shank, with its splint-bones 
behind /, p the upper pastern, q the 
lower pastern, or coronet-bone, r the 
coffin-bone, x the hoof. 

Besides the bones enumerated, there 
are small bones, y, v, placed behind the 
others, and acting somewhat in the manner of pulleys. 



namely, (1.) the sesamoid bones, g, behind the joint commonly 
termed the fetlock ; and, (2.) the navicular bone, #, placed 
behind the common Joint of the coronet and coffin bones. 
Over these small bones pass, from the cannon-bone, a liga- 
ment and tendons, which, being connected with the bones 
of the foot, give surpassing elasticity combined with strength, 

Fig. 3. 

to these parts. In the an- 
nexed section of the foot, L 
is the ligament, T the ten- 
dons, and N the navicular 
bone. The hoof, by which 
the foot is covered, is of a 
substance tough and elastic 
in an eminent degree. 

Directing attention to the 
hinder part of the vertebral 
column, Fig. 1, there is the 
pelvis, p, formed by two large 
bones, one on each side of 

the spine, and firmly united to it. The upper part of each 
pelvic bone, termed the ilium, forms the haunch-bone, or 
hip-bone ; and into a cavity in the lower part of the same 
bone is inserted the round head of the first of the bones of 
the posterior limbs, namely, the femur, q, or great bone of 
the thigh. The femur is not vertical, like the thigh-bone in 
man, but it has an oblique direction from behind forward. 
It corresponds with the thigh-bone in man, but being covered, 
in the horse, with the thick muscles employed in moving it, 
it appears to be a part of the trunk. The size of this bone 
is connected, in an important degree, with the power of pro- 
gression of the animal ; for, being extended backwards by 
the action of the muscles, while the foot remains fixed, it 
forces the body forward. 

In front of the lower extremity of the femur is the patella, 
or stifle-bone, r, which corresponds with the pan of the knee 
in man. It is one of the class of bones termed sesamoid, and 



is designed for the attachment, and passing over it, of ten- 
dons of muscles. 

Jointed to the lower part of the femur is the tibia, or great 
bone of the leg, connected with which, by ligamentous mat- 
ter, is the small bone termed the fibula. These two bones 
form properly the leg of the horse ; but they are, in popular 
language, termed the thigh, although they correspond, not 
with the bone of the thigh in the human species, but with the 

Next to these bones are those of the hock, which corre- 
spond with the bones of the ankle or instep in man ; and on 
one of them the tibia works by means of a hinge joint. They 
are six in number, and one of them, corresponding with the 

Fig. 4. 

great bone of the heel in man, pro- 
jects backwards, and has powerful 
muscles for extending the limb in- 
serted into its extremity, so that it 
acts as a strong lever in aiding the 
forward motion of the animal ; and, 
as in the fore extremities we look to 
the size of the elbow as a point to 
be regarded, so, in the posterior 
limbs, we look to the size of the 
bone of the heel. 

The next bones below correspond 
entirely with those of the fore extre- 
mity. They are, (1.) the cannon- 
bone, or shank, with the two splint- 
bones attached ; (2.) the pastern ; 
(3.) the coronet bone ; (4.) the cof- 
fin bone, with the sesamoid and na- 
vicular bones, as in the fore extre- 
mities. These several bones of the 
hinder limb are represented in the 
annexed figure, where pp are a part 
of one of the pelvic bones, q the femur, r the stifle bone, 



/ the leg, formed of the two bones tibia and fibula, h the 
hock, whereof c is the bone of the heel, u the cannon-bone, 
with its splint bones g,f the upper pastern, d the lower pas- 
tern, e the coffin bone, t the sesamoid bones, v the navicular 
bone, x the hoof. 

This chain of bones being extended, performs the functions 
of a lever in moving forward the body, the foot fixed to the 
ground being the fulcrum. In like manner, the other move- 
ments of the animal are performed by the flexure and exten- 
sion of the bones, thus - 


It is by means of the muscular forces that all the flexure 
of the bones, and movements of the other parts, are performed. 
The muscles constitute the greater part of all the solid matter 
of the body, forming the flesh of the animal, and entering 
into the composition of vessels, ducts, and sacs within the 



body. They are possessed of the property of contracting 
under the influence of the will, and often independently of 
it, and, by this contraction, of producing motion in the parts 
with which they are connected ; and all the movements of 
animals, from the smallest inflexion of the voice to the most 
extended motions of the limbs, are produced by the contrac- 
tile power of these organs. When they are to give motion 
to bones, the fleshy part terminates in tendons, which are 
attached like ropes or cords to the parts to be moved. The 
muscles of the horse, as of other animals, may be divided 
into classes, according to the functions which they have to 
perform, or the parts of the body to which they pertain.* 

Fig. 6. 

The muscles belonging to the head are numerous. They 

The figure represents the principal external muscles, namely, 
a Dilatator Naris Lateralis. 
b ^ Nasalis Longus Labii Superioris. 
c c Levator Labii Superioris Alaeque Xasi. 


are thin on the external parts of the face and cranium, so 
that the head of the animal may be said to be nearly of the 

form indicated by the bones which compose it. 

d Orbicularis Oris. 

e Levator Menti. 

/ Zygomaticus. 

fj Depressor Labii Inferioris. 

h Masseter. 

/ Orbicularis Palpebrarum. 

k Levator Palpebrae Superioris. 

I Attollentes et Adducentes I A urem 

/ Retrahentes et Abducentes j 

M Sterno-Maxillaris. 

n Subscapulo-Hyoideus. 

o Levator Humeri. 

p Trapezius. 

q Complexus Major. 

r Splenius. 

s and e e Serratus Magnus. 

t Pectoralis Magnus. 

u Latissimus Dorsi. 

( Obliquus Externus Abdominis (rolled up to shew the 
1 muscle beneath). 

w Obliquus Internus Abdominis. 

x x Gluteus Externus. 

z z Gluteus Maximus. 

b' b' Adductor Tibialis. 

c' c' c' Biceps Abductor Femoris. 

d' d' Vastus Externus. 

/' Antea-Spinatus. 

g' Postea-Spinatus. 

A" Teres Minor. 

i' Pectoralis Parvus. 

k' I' m Triceps Extensor Brachii. 

n Flexor Brachii. 

o' Extensor Metacarpi Magnus. 

p Extensor Pedis. 

q Flexor Metacarpi Externus. 

r Extensor Suffraginis. 

*, *, 1 Lumbrici, Anterior et Posterior. 

t' Extensor Pedis. 

u Peroneus. 

v Gastrocnemius Externus. 

w' Plantaris. 

x Flexor Pedis, 

?/' Extensor Metacarpi Obliquus vel Parvus. 

y Flexor Pedis Accessorius. 


The movements of the external ear are effected by a set of 
small muscles in contact with them on the upper part of the 
head. By their means the external ear is erected, depressed, 
or rotated, so that it may collect the sounds as they come 
from different points ; and the spirit and temper of the ani- 
mal may frequently be judged of by the movements of these 

Various muscles are employed in the movement of the eyes 
and eyelids. Some of them are within the sockets, and vary 
the position of the globe, so as to suit the relative position 
of external objects. 

A set of muscles are connected with the movements of 
the jaws, the mouth, and the nostrils. These cover the 
maxillary bones, form the cheeks, and, stretching to a circu- 
lar muscle which surrounds the mouth, form the lips. By 
means of these muscles the jaws are moved upon one another 
with great force, the nostrils are dilated to admit the air into 
the trachea, and the varied movements of the lips are pro- 
duced. In the horse of high breeding the nostrils are dilated, 
and the muzzle is delicate. 

Another numerous class of muscles, which are internal, 
are connected with the varied movements of the tongue. 
They produce the actions connected with deglutition, and the 
inflexions of the voice. 

The bones of the neck are enveloped in a vast mass of 
muscles, subservient to the numerous motions of the head 
and neck. They stretch from the head to the chest, and their 
expansion therefore indicates power of the fore-extremities/ 

The chest and abdomen are covered with muscles, several 
of them flat, and expanded over a large surface. Some lie 
beneath the shoulder-blade, and are otherwise connected with 
it, retaining it in its place, and, aided by several muscles of 
the neck, producing those changes of position which are re- 
quired by the motions of the fore -limbs. Along the back 
extend very powerful muscles, producing the necessary flexure 
of the back ; and some pass along the inner side of the ver- 


tebral column, acting upon the pelvis and thighs ; and a 
set extending backwards cause the motions of the tail and 
other parts. The ribs are connected together, and moved, 
by numerous muscles passing between them ; and the abdo- 
men is covered by flat tendinous muscles, which support 
the contained viscera. The diaphragm, extending within 
the trunk from the spine to the breast-bone, separates the 
cavities of the chest and abdomen. The hinder extremities, 
which are the main instruments of progression, are moved 
by muscles of prodigious force, connected with the spine, 
sacrum, and bones, of the pelvis, giving motion to the thigh 
and leg. One set is employed in bending the limb under 
the body, another in extending it backwards. The muscles 
which extend downward to move the lower part of the limb, 
becpme tendinous as they descend, until, having reached the 
hock, they are almost wholly tendinous. By this mechanism 
the various pieces of the limb are either flexed or extended, 
without loading with muscle the parts to be pulled. 

The fore extremities are moved by a series of muscles at- 
tached to the shoulder-blade, and by others, extending from 
the higher parts of the limb downwards. These last, like 
the muscles of the hinder extremity, become tendinous down- 
wards, until, at and below the knee, they are almost wholly 
tendinous. They are distinguished into those which extend 
the humerus and other pieces of the limb forwards, and 
those which bend them backwards. The parts of the limb 
being extended, and at the same time bent, the limbs clear 
the ground, when the animal is propelled forwards. In 
order that they may be raised sufficiently to clear the ground, 
and move in harmony with the hinder limbs, there must be 
a peculiar adaptation of parts, and fitting strength of muscle. 
The due performance of these functions constitutes chiefly 
what is termed action in the horse, and we judge essentially 
of his safety and usefulness from the form and movements 
of his fore-extremities. 

The horse, when we regard him in profile, is compre- 



hended, abstracting from the neck and head, within a square, 
the limbs occupying somewhat more than one-half. 

Fig. 7. 

Were the limbs to occupy too large a proportion of the 
square, the horse might be full of mettle, and possessed of 
great power of speed, but he would be wanting in the power 
of endurance necessary to suit him for useful services. A 
certain depth of chest and body is required in every horse 
from which we look for continued labour. This is essential 
in the horse of heavy draught, the hackney, the ordinary 
saddle-horse, and the hunter. A horse having this conforma- 
tion is said to be short-legged. A length of the limbs dis- 
proportionate to the depth of chest and trunk, is only admis- 
sible in the case of the race-horse, in which the property of 
speed is alone regarded. In an ordinary horse, the charac- 
ter of too long legs is universally regarded as a defect. Such 
a horse, whatever spirit he may possess, is easily tired, and, 
after ^severe exercise, is frequently unable to take his food. 
He is subject to be purged often by a draught of cold water, 


or a quick gallop. Such horses are familiarly said to be 
light in the carcass, to stand high in the legs, and so forth. 

A section of the chest of the horse, at its commencement 
at the breast, approaches to an oval form, and, proceeding 
from the first rib backwards, it enlarges in capacity in both 
directions. This progressive enlargement should go on to 
behind the shoulders, where the depth, and consequently the 
girth, should be relatively large. This conformation shews 
that there is due space for the action of the respiratory or- 
gans ; and, it may be said, that no horse will be found pos- 
sessed of health and endurance without a sufficient depth of 

But an enlargement of the chest may take place by means 
of increase in width as well as in depth When, how- 
ever, the chest approaches too much to the circular at the 
breast and shoulders, it deviates from the form adapted to 
speed and action. A cart-horse may possess a circular 
breast, and this class of horses have always more or less of 
this character ; but we desire to see the chest deep as well 
as broad. If the breast be very wide, the fore-limbs will be 
placed far asunder. But this is a disposition of parts which, 
though fitted for physical force, is not so for speed, and the 
power of active motion. Independently of the too great 
weight before the limbs, which renders the horse too heavy 
before, the further evil results, that a straddling motion is 
communicated to the animal in the gallop, which is alto- 
gether unfavourable to the exeVcise of this movement. The 
fore-limbs, therefore, must not be too far asunder, by the ex- 
tension of the chest in width at the breast. In other quad- 
rupeds possessed of great powers of speed, we invariably 
find that the fore-limbs are somewhat close together, as in 
the case of the greyhound as compared with the mastiff 
amongst dogs, and in the case of the deer as compared 
with the sheep amongst ruminating animals ; but yet a 
certain lateral expansion of chest is connected with physi- 


cal strength, health, and the property of readily assimilating 
nourishment. In the case of the horse employed entirely in 
slow labour, the possession of a round wide breast is not only 
of no detriment, but it is a property to be desired. A cer- 
tain width of breast is desirable, but in a less degree, in 
the hackney and common saddle-horse, in which the power 
of speed is held to be secondary to other properties. In 
the hunter it should exist to a medium extent, and it is 
only in the race-horse that we can afford to regard it as 
a secondary property ; yet even in the race-horse, although 
too great a width of breast is to be deprecated as utterly 
imsuited to his destination, we still desire to see the chest 
expand gradually to behind the shoulders, so that its capa- 
city shall be sufficient for the action of the respiratory organs. 

The ribs, rising from the vertebrae of the back, increase in 
length until the ninth, and in curvature to the last, so that 
the body gradually passes from the elliptical form, and be- 
comes nearly circular. The ribs should possess the proper 
degree of curvature, so that the sides shall not be flat, and 
the body narrow. A horse having the body narrow is said to 
be flat- sided, and has frequently the belly pendent, because the 
abdominal viscera have not sufficient space laterally. Such 
a horse never possesses endurance, and rarely good action. 

The head of the horse should be symmetrical, and rather 
small than large, a large head not conducing to any pur- 
poses of active motion, and frequently indicating sluggish- 
ness of temper, and coarseness in other parts. Yet the 
mere difference in the size of heads of horses of the same 
race is not a very important character, and, other points 
being good, may be disregarded. A certain breadth and 
height of forehead, however, indicates the horse of high 
breeding, and may be supposed to be connected with greater 
sagacity and spirit. 

The ears should be free from coarseness. The spirit of 
the animal is judged of by these parts being pointed, and 


frequently erect. He manifests momentary irritation, or ha- 
bitual ill temper, by retracting them firmly backwards ; but 
often this is done in play, or when he is tickled in the skin. 
The ears of certain horses hang habitually down, as if the 
muscles wanted power to sustain them. Such horses are 
termed "lob-eared." They are sometimes good and endur- 
ing ; but, for the most part, the character indicates a slug- 
gish temperament. 

The eyelids should be thin, and the eyes large, and some- 
what prominent, as expressive of vigour and spirit. When 
the eyes are sunk in the sockets, and the surrounding muscles 
are thick, the horse is said to be " pig-eyed." When the 
horse is apt to shew much of the white of the eye, his tem- 
per may be suspected; though, in some cases, the white or 
sclerotic portion is large in proportion to the coloured or 
corneous, and then its habitual appearance does not neces- 
sarily indicate badness of temper. 

The profile of the face should be nearly straight. When 
it is concave, there is often a defect of temper ; when con- 
vex, the animal is usually good-tempered, and may possess 
useful properties. But yet the latter conformation is not of 
itself to be desired. A horse possessing it is familiarly said 
to be " Roman-nosed." Many excellent horses possess this 
character, which is, therefore, to be regarded as trivial, when 
the other points are good. 

The nostrils should be expansive, and not thick and nar- 
row. The horse breathes through the nostrils, and the power 
of expanding these cavities is connected with his power of 
filling the lungs with air, and, consequently, with the pro- 
perty of speed. All horses having the power of rapid motion 
have expanded nostrils ; and there is, perhaps, no example 
of narrow nostrils in combination with the property of rapid 
progression. The lips should be thin, and the mouth exter- 
nally of some depth, characters which render the horse sen- 
sible to the guidance of the rein ; whereas thick, short, and 


arse lips, indicate a dulness of feeling in the parts, and 
are only tolerable in the horse employed in labour. 

The muscles which cover the face should be distinctly 
marked, and not loaded with integument and fat : The su- 
perficial bloodvessels should be distinct, and somewhat pro- 

The windpipe should be prominent and large. The bones 
of the lower jaw should be thin, and the branches between 
which the windpipe passes should be sufficiently wide ; for, 
otherwise, the horse will be incommoded when reined up, 
and will be apt, accordingly, to bore upon the hand. 

The neck should be of medium symmetrical length. A 
too great length of neck unnecessarily loads the fore-extre- 
mities, while a too short one renders the horse unapt to the 
guidance of the rein, incapable of easy flexure of the body, 
ungraceful, slow, and often unsafe. All horses possessed of 
much speed have the neck somewhat long ; and, comparing 
the two kinds of conformation, it is better that the neck 
shall approach to the extreme of length than of shortness. 

The bones of the neck are covered by powerful muscles 
connected with the motions of the head and fore-arm. Pro- 
ceeding from the head, the muscles should progressively in- 
crease in volume to the breast, where a want of muscular ex- 
pansion indicates a want of action. The upper part of the 
neck, formed of the splenius and other muscles, frequently 
termed the crest, should be sufficiently, but not excessively, 
developed. Considerable elevation of the crest is connected 
with high and powerful action ; but its excessive expansion 
has relation to vigour of the fore extremities rather than to 
speed, and hence, in the race-horse, the crest is compara- 
tively thin. But the character is not inconsistent with the 
power of rapid motion. The Flying Childers, one of the 
fleetest horses that ever was upon the English turf, had the 
crest remarkably large. 

The neck should be somewhat arched or convex, a charac- 


ter depending, in part, upon the obliquity of the shoulder ; 
but when mere speed is regarded, the neck may be straight, 
or even concave above. The latter conformation forms what 
is termed the " ewe-neck." It renders the horse unapt to 
the guidance of the rein, uneasy to the rider, and unsafe ; 
but may exist in the class of horses in which speed alone is 
sought for. Many excellent race-horses have exhibited this 
conformation, which is that likewise of the deer and other 
swift-footed ruminants. 

The back consists of the dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, with 
the powerful muscles covering the parts. It commences 
with the elevated ridge formed by the spinous processes of 
the first dorsal vertebrae, termed withers, and familiarly 
known as the part between the pommel of the saddle and the 
termination of the mane. Elevation of withers is connected 
with the vigorous movement of the fore-extremities, and is, 
consequently, indicative of action. All jockeys look to the 
height of the shoulder, which is indicated by the elevation 
of the withers, as a point connected with usefulness and 
safety in the saddle-horse ; and dealers, accordingly, usually 
seek to exaggerate the height of the horse before, by placing 
him, when he is to be examined, with his fore-feet on the 
higher ground. Great elevation of the withers, however, is 
more connected with good action than extreme speed ; and 
in the race-horse it is regarded as a secondary character. 
A great proportion of the horses distinguished on the turf 
have the withers of moderate height. In Eclipse, whose 
form has been minutely scrutinized, the withers were very 
low ; and the same conformation is observed in other species 
of animals fitted for great speed. But although the power 
of speed is connected with another class of properties than 
elevation of the withers, yet the latter character is never to 
be disregarded, when we look to utility and safety in the 
saddle-horse. It gives not only grace to the animal, but a 
sense of ease and security to the rider. When the withers 


are low, the saddle bears upon the shoulder, and the rider 
neither feels nor possesses that security which the elevated 
shoulder gives. The horse of this form, however suited for 
direct progression, is rarely well adapted to quick turnings, 
and the other movements which we seek to communicate by 
education. The want of space for the attachment of the 
muscles of the neck, if compensated at all, must be so by an 
enlargement of the muscles themselves, which renders the 
shoulders thick, and what is called " cloddy." Cloddy shoul- 
ders, indeed, are not inconsistent with good properties in the 
saddle-horse ; but the far greater presumption is, that they 
will have the effect of rendering him heavy before, unplea- 
sant to the rider, and unsafe. They are not even absolutely 
inconsistent with great speed, though their existence is ad- 
verse to the expectation of this character. In Eclipse, the 
shoulder was cloddy in a remarkable degree, but this proves 
only that one defect may be counterbalanced by great excel- 
lencies, as was the case in this remarkable horse, whose obli- 
quity of shoulder, and vast expansion of the posterior extre- 
mities, were sufficient to produce his surpassing powers of 
progression, without our being allowed to infer that those 
powers would have been less, had the spinous processes been 
increased, and the muscular substance attached to them di- 

The dorsal and lumbar vertebrae, with the muscles cover- 
ing them, form the back. Debates have sometimes taken 
place regarding the proper length of this part. But the pro- 
portion of this, as of other parts of the frame, is not subject 
to any definite rule. A short back, like a short rod, is more 
strong than one of the same substance which is extended in 
length. A short back, in the horse, indicates strength and 
capability of bearing the burden of the rider. Further, it 
indicates hardiness of constitution, the power of supporting 
fatigue, and the property of subsisting on a small quantity 
of food. When we seek, then, for a horse, as the road-horse 


and hackney, in which strength and endurance of long fatigue 
are regarded as essential properties, a short back, like short 
limbs, indicates that the animal is suited to our purposes. 
But a horse whose back is short, is less easy in its paces, 
shorter in its step, and slower in its motions, than one which 
has a longer back ; and when we regard speed, a certain 
length of back is necessary to suit the longer stride which 
rapid progression demands. The property of shortness of 
back, therefore, is disregarded in the race-horse ; but we 
may say that a medium length of back, tending to the short, 
is to be desired in horses where a reasonable degree of speed 
is to be combined with strength, that is, in all ordinary 
horses employed for the saddle, not excepting the hunter, 
and even, though in a less degree, in the horse employed in 
the lighter vehicles in harness. In a horse whose back is 
short, the last of the ribs is brought nearer to the pelvis. 
Such a horse is said to be " well-ribbed home," and this 
point is looked to by jockeys, as characteristic of hardiness 
and good constitution. 

The back of the horse sometimes declines considerably 
from the withers, forming a concavity or hollow. This form 
produces easy motion of the rider, but it is not consistent 
with strength and the best position of the parts in other re- 
spects. Even when we look for a certain length of back, as 
in the horse designed for rapid motion, we should see that it 
is straight as an indication of strength. In certain cases, 
the back is convex, and not hollow. A horse thus formed is 
said to be " roach-backed ;" but when this conformation 
exists, the horse is uneasy in all its motions, awkward in his 
paces, slow, and unapt to turn, and bend himself to the move- 
ments which we seek to communicate by training. 

The lumbar portion of the back should be broad, which is 
the result of the lateral extension of the transverse pro- 
cesses of the lumbar vertebra?. This conformation indicates, 
in all cases, strength, is not inconsistent with speed, but con- 


ducive to it, and therefore is to be desired in horses of every 
kind. One may see well the advantages of this form from 
the coach-box of our heavily-loaded public vehicles, where 
animals of different conformation are yoked together. While 
the narrow-loined horses will be seen to be suffering from 
the combined effects of the rapid pace and heavy load, the 
broad-loined horses will be observed performing their task 
with comparative facility. 

With the sacrum commences the part of the horse termed 
the haunch or quarter, which extends from the sacrum back- 
wards to the tail, and downwards so far as the larger muscles 
extend. The upper line of the haunch formed by the sacrum, 
and part of the caudal vertebrae, is usually termed the croup. 
The croup has a natural convexity, forming a kind of arch. 
In certain horses, the croup is much elevated. But this con- 
formation is not to be desired : it is a usual accompaniment 
of the hollow back, and is less favourable to speed than if 
the parts were extended in length rather than in curvature.- 
In other cases, in place of an elevation, the croup suddenly 
declines to the tail. This conformation is ungraceful, inju- 
rious to the breeding-mare by diminishing the size of the 
pelvis, and less favourable to progression than a horizontal 
extension of the part. In the highly-bred horse, the croup 
is so gently curved as to appear nearly straight ; and this is 
the form which may be regarded as the most symmetrical 
and perfect. In the larger horses employed for labour, the 
croup is never so straight as in the horses of superior breed- 
ing ; but even in them, it is desirable to see an approach to 
the more perfect conformation. 

The main indications of the power of progression in the 
horse, as in all swift-footed quadrupeds, are afforded by the 
posterior extremities, which contain the bones, whose exten- 
sion backwards, when the foot is placed on the ground, forces 
the animal forward. We look, therefore, as an essential 
character in horses of every kind, to the expansion in every 
direction of the haunch or quarter, understanding by these 


terms the bones of the pelvis and femur, together with the 
muscles which cover or are attached to them. 

The upper or iliac portion of the pelvis, commonly termed 
the haunch-bone, projects more or less outward. To this 
part large muscles are attached, subservient to the move- 
ments of the posterior limbs. The haunch-bone should, 
therefore, be relatively large, and even an apparent coarse- 
ness of it may be tolerated. A horse in which the projection 
is so great as to appear uri symmetrical, is said to be " ragged 
in the hips." It is not, however, to be desired that the part 
shall be ragged, as it is called, but simply that the width of 
the haunch, measured over the iliac protuberances of the 
pelvis, shall be large, as indicating the lateral expansion of 
the haunch. 

The pelvis and femur form an angle with one another, and 
by the forcible extension of the latter backwards by the 
action of the muscles, the main spring is given by which the 
body of the animal is urged forward. Hence will appear the 
advantage of an increased length of the femur, by which the 
means are afforded of giving a large sweep or spring, when 
it is extended by the action of the muscles. Further, the 
length of the femur is indicated externally by the length of 
the haunch, measured from the haunch-bone backwards ; and 
hence it is, that length of haunch in this direction is charac- 
teristic of the power of progression of the horse. Further,, 
as the movements of the posterior limbs must be performed 
by muscles of great power, we desire that the muscles of the 
haunch shall be of sufficient volume. This, too, is indicated 
to the eye by the expansion of the haunch in its different 

In the English race-horse, the character of a large quarter 
is developed in a greater degree than in any other known 
race of horses. And not in the horse only, but in all swift- 
footed quadrupeds, the power of rapid motion has an inti- 
mate relation with the expansion of the posterior extremity. 
In the greyhound, which is the fleetest of all the races of 


dogs, the haunch is large and high, as compared with the 
shoulder. The same character is seen in the deer and ante- 
lope tribes ; and yet more in the hare, an animal whose 
swiftness far surpasses that of the horse, the greyhound, or 
the antelope, when the relative size of the animals is taken 
into account. 

Important points in the conformation of the horse are the 
form of the limbs, and their disposition with relation to the 
parts with which they are connected. 

The humerus, it has been seen, works into a shallow cavity 
in the scapula ; and, moving forward on this point as a pivot 
it describes an arc of a circle, so that the limb is raised above 
the ground. To admit of this action being performed with 
the required facility, the scapula should have considerable 
obliquity, rendering the shoulder what is termed oblique. 
Further, the humerus should be relatively short, because its 
function being to move in a circle, the same arc will be de- 
scribed by a smaller radius as by a larger, and this with less 
displacement of the parts. Further, when the humerus is 
too long, the breast is placed too far in front of the fore- 
limbs, and thus the horse is rendered heavy before. 

The next bones of the limb, forming the bones of the fore- 
arm, should be somewhat long relatively to the cannon bone 
below, for the fore-arm being muscular, while the parts lower 
down are tendinous, its length increases the volume, and, 
consequently, the power of the muscles subservient to the 
movements of the limb. Further, the muscles of the fore- 
arm should be well developed down to the carpus or knee. 
The elbow or ulnar part of the fore-arm should be long, 
so as to be adapted to its function of moving the arm, which 
it does in the manner of a lever. A good size of the elbow 
is, accordingly, regarded by jockeys as one of the points con- 
nected with action in the horse. 

The bones of the carpus or knee should be sufficiently large 
for the attachment of muscles, so that the knee shall appear 
broad when seen from the front. 


The cannon bone must be of sufficient strength, but its 
thickness will vary with race, being greater in the breeds of 
larger horses than the more delicate and higher bred, whose 
bones are more dense than those of horses of inferior breeding. 
When viewed from the side, the limb should appear compara- 
tively broad in any kind of horses, indicating the size of the 
sesamoid bones behind, and the sufficiency of space for the 
tendons and ligaments connected with the pastern and foot. 

The pastern, formed of the upper and lower pastern bones, 
should be more oblique and long in proportion as the animal 
is destined for more rapid movements. In the race-horse 
they are peculiarly long and oblique, affording a more yield- 
ing spring to the animal when at speed. But a medium 
length and inclination only is suited to the horse in which 
strength is to be combined with ordinary powers of speed, 
as in the saddle -horse and lighter carriage-horse. When the 
parts are too short and upright, the animal becomes unsafe 
for the saddle, and unsuited for the exercise of even common 
speed ; and it is only in the horse employed in slow and 
heavy labour that a short and upright pastern is an admis- 
sible character. 

The hoof should be well formed, and of symmetrical size. 
Its colour will depend upon that of the integument, but it is 
better that it be dark in colour than light. 

On the suitable conformation of the shoulder and fore- 
limbs depends the property of what is termed action, which 
consists in a ready elevation and flexure of the fore extremi- 
ties. This property is less regarded in the race-horse, in 
which it is only required to the degree that the horse shall 
have the power to clear the level surface over which his 
powers of speed are exercised ; but in all the classes of horses 
which undergo continued fatigue, and bear the burden of a 
rider, good action is an essential property. 

In the hinder limbs, which are designed essentially for 
progression, is the femur, which, for the reasons before 
given, should be relatively long. The tibia or leg proper 



should, for the same reasons, be long with relation to the 
part below the hock, and the muscles which cover it should 
be well developed. The patella or stifle bone should be of 
good size. The hock should be large, indicating an adequate 
extent of surface in the bones which compose it. When seen 
from the side it should appear to the eye broad, and the os 
calcis, or great bone of the heel, should be long, to adapt it 
to its function of a lever in extending the limb backwards. 
To the cannon bone, the pastern, and the foot, the same re- 
marks apply as to those of the fore-extremities. 

The aspect of horses must greatly vary with size, and the 
conformation acquired either naturally or by artificial breed- 
ing. Whatever be the race, those characters should be cul- 
tivated in the individual which adapt them to the uses to 
which they are especially destined, whether for the course, 
the chase, the ordinary uses of the horseman, or the duties 
of heavier labour. The following figures will exhibit the 
contrast between animals destined for different uses, yet each 
exhibiting the characters proper to its own condition. The 
one is an outline of a race-horse, Charles XII., the other of 
a dray-horse of the old English Black Breed : 

Fig. 8. 


Fig. 9. 

In the case of the Horse, we have considered the proper- 
ties of external form, which we seek to communicate to an 
animal whose physical powers we call forth for particular 
ends. But other kinds of animals are destined for other 
uses, and each has a conformation proper to itself, and in 
them we endeavour to produce a class of characters depen- 
dent upon their own nature and our purposes in rearing 
them. Amongst these animals, the Ox, the Sheep, the Goat, 
and the Hog, are domesticated chiefly for the purpose of pro- 
ducing human food and clothing, but, above all, for the pro- 
duction of food, either the flesh of the animals themselves, 
or the milk of the females, produced for the nourishment of 
their young. The characters indicative of the faculties best 
suited for these different purposes differ in the different 
species. But there are certain characters common to all of 
them, which indicate in a greater or less degree their adap- 
tation to the production of flesh or muscle, which, along with 
the fatty secretion, constitutes food. 

The muscular tissue or flesh consists of a series of fine 
tubular fibres or threads. These fibres united form fasciculi. 


or bundles of fibres, which, again, being united, form larger 
fasciculi. These fibres and fasciculi are separated by a fine 
intervening tissue of cells, in which is secreted the oily sub- 
stance, fat. This latter substance is intermingled with the 
muscular or fleshy tissue, and is found in large quantity be- 
neath the skin and in the muscular tissue connected with it, 
and surrounds, or is intermingled with, the various viscera 
within the body, as the intestines, the heart, the kidneys, and 
other organs. It affords nourishment to the system, is ex- 
hausted when the animal is deprived of food, and increases 
largely in quantity when abundant sustenance is supplied. 

The muscular tissue or flesh grows with the animal, and 
is essential to its existence and power of motion. When it 
arrives at its full growth, little further addition can be made 
to it by means of food. But it is otherwise with the fatty 
matter which surrounds and is intermingled with its sub- 
stance. When the food which the animal assimilates by the 
action of its organs is no longer needed to form muscle and 
bone, it produces fat ; the muscles become enlarged, and the 
integuments extended, and the accumulation of fat takes place 
in great quantity within the trunk. By merely feeding an ani- 
mal, we may not have the power of increasing its muscular 
substance, but we have a great power over the increase of the 
fatty matter, which, along with the fleshy fibre, forms food. 

Now, a certain set of characters indicates in all the ani- 
mals enumerated the property of arriving speedily at ma- 
turity of bone and muscle, and of readily secreting fat. As 
the property of quickly assimilating nourishment depends on 
the action of the digestive and respiratory organs, so it has 
been inferred that a large chest for containing the organs of 
respiration, and a capacious trunk for containing the stomach 
and other viscera employed in digestion, are connected with 
the property of easy digestion and assimilation. But what- 
ever be the causes assigned, experience shews that, in every 
case of a healthy animal, the property of fattening quickly 
is combined with a capacious body. Further, as an indica- 
tion of the property of secreting fat, we find an absence of 



thickness or coarseness, as it is termed, of the bones of the 
extremities, as of the head, limbs, and caudal vertebrse or 
tail. A thick and large head, massy limbs below the hock 
and knee, and a thick tail, may indicate strength and large 
muscles ; but they do not manifest that peculiar delicacy of 
form which experience shews to exist in an animal that can 
be fattened with facility. 

Besides those indications of a tendency to fatten readily, 
which are exhibited by the conformation of the animal, there is 
one of essential importance indicated by the touch. The skin 
is found to be soft, and, as it were, expansive. This property 
differs from mere thinness of the integuments, which, as in- 
dicative of want of hardiness, would be regarded as a defect. 
It is a softness combined with elasticity, conveying the idea 
of a fine membrane spread over a soft cushion. The differ- 
ence between the mellow feel, as it has been termed, of an 
animal which fattens readily, and the hard inexpansive skin 
of an animal which does not possess this property, is readily 

These characters, the broad chest and expanded trunk, 
the fineness of the bones of the extremities, and the soft ex- 
pansive integuments, have been found indications of the 
property of secreting the fatty tissue in all the animals which 
we domesticate. They extend to the horse, the rabbit, the 
domesticated fowls, and even to the dog, nay, it is believed, 
to the human species. In the most numerous kennel of 
hounds, we should have little difficulty in pointing out, by 
means of the wide chests, the round bodies, and soft skins, 
all the individuals which became the most quickly fattened 
by the food consumed by them. 

The Horse may, for the uses for which we design him, be 
too much loaded with muscle and fat. This can never be to 
the degree of being defects in the animals which we rear for 
the production of these substances. The greater the volume 
of muscular and fatty substance which such an animal bears, 
and the larger the space which his body occupies in proportion 
to his limbs, the more adapted is his form to the uses to which 



he is to be applied. In all cases, then, of animals to be fat- 
tened, we desire that the trunk shall be large in proportion 
to the limbs, or, in other words, that the limbs shall be short 
in proportion to the trunk, 

In the Horse, we cultivate the characters of form which in- 
dicate the power of active movements of the body. In ani- 
mals which we design to rear up to the earliest possible ma- 
turity of muscle and fatness, we desire no other power of 
active motion than consists with the means of procuring their 
own food ; and when the state in which we keep them is per- 
fectly artificial, so that food is supplied to them in unlimited 
quantity, we cultivate characters entirely the opposite of 
those which indicate activity. 

Of the animals reared in this manner for human food, the 
Ox is one whose form has, in this country, been brought to 
great perfection with relation to his power of arriving at 
early maturity, and becoming soon fat. 

The Ox differs essentially from the Horse in his internal 
conformation and exterior form. Being of the class of Ru- 
minants, his body is largely extended in the abdominal re- 
gion, and the form and capacity of his chest are modified in 
a corresponding degree. While the Horse stands within a 
square, of which his body occupies about one-half, the Ox 
stands within a rectangle, of which his body occupies a larger 
proportion than the half, as in the following figure, which is 
the outline of a Galloway Heifer. 

Fig. 10. 


The teeth of the ox consist only of two kinds, namely, the 
sharp-edged, or incisors, which perform the office of cutting 
the substances presented to them, in the manner of shears 
or chisels, and the molar teeth, which are situated farther 
back in the jaw, and are designed for grinding or bruising. 
In the ox, there are 8 incisors in the lower jaw, and none 
opposite in the upper. In place of incisors in the upper jaw, 
there is a kind of cartilaginous pad, against which the incisor 
teeth press in the act of dividing the food ; and it is by means 
of the incisors and this pad, that the ox partly cuts and partly 
tears the herbage plants on the ground. He has 8 incisors, 
then, in the lower jaw, and 6 molars in the upper jaw, and 6 
in the lower, on each side, in all 32 teeth, disposed thus : 

Molar. Canine. Incisors. Canine. Molar. 
Upper jaw, .6 6 

Under jaw, .6 8 6 

The Ox, like most of the ruminating tribes, is furnished 
with horns, which are the weapons of defence given to him. 
In certain cases, under the influence of domestication, the 
horns disappear, yet even then the animal instinctively strikes 
with his forehead, which, in the absence of horns, is strength- 
ened by a greater expansion of the frontal bones. In other 
cases, the horns become short and lose their sharpness, or 
even assume a direction which unfits them for inflicting 
wounds, as in the following figure of a Bull of the Long- 
horned Dishley Breed. 

Fig. 11. 


The Ox possesses 7 cervical. 13 dorsal, 6 lumbar, and 5 
sacral vertebrae united into one piece, with a varying number 
of vertebrae of the tail. 

Proceeding at first horizontally from the spine, the ribs 
bend downward somewhat vertically, so that the back is 
broad. The ribs are very broad, and as they proceed back- 
ward, each projects more outward than the anterior one, so 
that at the abdomen the trunk is very large. As compared 
with the horse, the scapula is less oblique, and, with the 
humerus, forms a more upright shoulder ; the vertebrae of the 
loins and back are of greater size, the transverse processes 
are larger and stronger, the sternum is broader, presenting 
a larger surface to support the more extended chest of the 
animal, and for the attachment exteriorly of that mass, partly 
muscular and partly cartilaginous, which is termed the 
brisket, and which, in these animals, when largely fed, be- 
comes sometimes of great dimensions, almost reaching to the 
ground. The bones of the limbs are analogous to those of 
the horse, but at the fetlock-joint divide into two sets, so that 
in each limb there are two pastern, two coronet, and two 
coffin bones. The hoofs are thus said to be cleft, and each, 
division has its own defence of horn. 

The muscular system of the ox is very large, covering in 
great mass the breast, the shoulder, the back, the haunch, 
the sides. The blood-vessels are of great size, the quantity 
of blood is large, and the circulation, as compared with many 
other quadrupeds, slow. The integuments consist of a thick 
skin covered with hair. 

As the natural conformation of the Ox differs greatly from 
that of the Horse, so there is an equal divergence in those 
characters of form, which we endeavour to communicate to 
him for the purpose of suiting him to our purposes. In the 
horse we require the exertion of physical force for the carry- 
ing of loads, for the drawing of weights, or for rapid motion. 
These purposes may be sought for in the ox intended for 
labour ; but generally our purpose in rearing the ox is the 


production of human food, either the flesh of either sex, or 
the milk of the female for the products of the dairy. 

For the former of these purposes, namely, the production 
of the muscular or fatty tissue, we require in the Ox, as in all 
the other animals cultivated for the same productions, that 
the chest shall be wide and deep, and the trunk capacious, 
that the body shall be large in proportion to the limbs, or, in 
other words, that the limbs shall be short with relation to 
the bulk of the body, and that the bones shall be what is 
called fine, as indicated by the delicacy of the extremities. 

The head should be somewhat small, and rather elongated 
than short and thick. But in the bull, the forehead is na- 
turally more broad than in the female. When the head of 
the bull approaches to the narrow and elongated form of that 
of the female, he may be docile, and apt to fatten readily, 
but he will have lost too much of his masculine character, 
and may give birth to too delicate a progeny. Even in the 
refinement of breeding, therefore, we should desire to see the 
bull possess so much of the masculine characters as to com- 
municate a sufficient degree of strength and hardihood to his 
descendants. On the other hand, should the head of the 
female approach too much to the masculine character of the 
bull, we shall have reason to infer from experience, that she 
will be deficient in the faculty of yielding milk. The chan- 
nel of the lower jaw should be wide, and the eyes, as indica- 
tive of health, prominent and clear. 

The bony ridge on the summit of the head, from which the 
horns proceed, should be somewhat raised, so that the horns 
shall appear to be slightly attached to the head. The length 
and size of the horns vary with temperament and race, and 
in certain breeds they do not exist. But, cseteris paribus, it 
is to be desired that the horns shall be delicate rather than 
coarse and thick ; great thickness and coarseness of horn 
being usually connected with coarseness of the cuticular 

The neck, in the natural state, must be of such length that 


the animal can reach the ground, and collect his food ; but if 
the limbs be short, so will the neck be in proportion to the 
size of the trunk ; and hence shortness of neck, with relation 
to the size of the body, is one of the points of character re- 
garded in the Ox. But an undue shortness of neck, like all 
deviations from the natural form, may likewise indicate dimi- 
nution of strength and hardiness. By refinement in breed- 
ing, and by giving the animal his food from the birth in stalls 
and mangers, his neck may become so short as to render him 
unable to reach the ground, and collect his natural suste- 

A capacious trunk being connected with the property of 
fattening, the ribs should be widely arched, rising almost 
horizontally from the spine, and then bending downwards 
with a sweep, producing a wide and flat back, and likewise 
round sides, as far as the natural form of the animal will 
allow. This is an important character in the Ox, in which 
narrowness of back, and too great flatness of sides, scarcely 
ever consist with the property of fattening quickly. In the 
Horse, we have seen, this conformation indicates weakness, 
and in a no less degree it indicates, in the Ox, the want of 
that vigour which is connected with the power to fatten. In 
the Horse designed for active motion, we required that the 
chest, at its commencement, should not be too wide, so as to 
place the fore-limbs too far asunder, and that the breast 
should not extend too much in front of the fore-limbs, so as 
to render the animal heavy before. In the Ox, none of these 
characters can exist to the degree of being injurious. We 
require that the breast shall be wide and well extended for- 
ward, and that the fore-limbs shall be far asunder. 

The shoulders should be broad at the top, and well covered 
with muscle. The spines of the back and loins should be so 
enveloped in muscle as to cause the back to appear nearly 
straight from the neck backwards. The back and loins 
should be somewhat long ; for although a short and compact 
body indicates greater robustness and tendency to fatten, yet 


length of body increases the space for muscles, and conse- 
quently the weight of the animal. Breeders, therefore, look 
to length of trunk as connected with economical value ; yet 
if this character be not combined with others which are good, 
as depth and roundness of trunk, and strength and breadth 
of back and loins, there will be more of loss by the dimi- 
nished tendency to fatten, than of gain by the larger extent 
of muscular surface. 

The size of the haunch of the ox is not connected with the 
property of fattening ; but it is connected, in an important 
degree, with the weight and economical value of the animal. 
The haunch commences with the iliac portion of the pelvis, 
or haunch-bone, commonly called, in the case of this animal, 
the hook-bone or huckle-bone. These protuberances should 
appear as if nearly on a level with the back, and they should 
be distant from one another, indicating breadth over the 
loins. The upper line of the haunch should be long and 
straight to the bending downwards of the tail. The femur and 
tibia should be long, so that the size of the haunch shall be 
increased, and a larger space afforded for muscular substance. 
By enlarging the haunch in all its directions, the weight of 
the animal is increased, and this in a manner which does 
not, as in the case of extending the back alone, tend to pro- 
duce weakness. 

Corresponding with the width of the trunk, the fore and 
hinder limbs respectively will be far apart ; and this, accord- 
ingly, is a point of form looked to by breeders as indicative 
of that lateral expansion of the body, which is sought for in 
the Ox, as in every animal to be fattened. The limbs, it has 
been seen, should be relatively short ; but the fore-arm to the 
knee should be long in proportion to the part from the knee 
to the hoof; and, in like manner, in the posterior limbs, the 
leg to the hock should be long in proportion to the part below 
the hock. This character is desired in the Ox, 1st, because the 
parts above the knee and hock, respectively, contain muscle, 
while those below consist almost entirely of tendon ; 


because the character indicates that delicacy of the extremi- 
ties which experience shews to consist with the property of 
fattening quickly. 

The Ox, when viewed in profile, should exhibit a square 
and massive form, filling the greater part of the rectangle in 
which he is contained. When viewed from behind, he should 
present the same square and massive aspect ; and the muscles 
on the inner side of the tibia, forming what is technically 
termed the twist, should be largely developed. The large 
flat muscles which surround the abdomen should be of suffi- 
cient strength to keep the belly from hanging. Generally, 
the muscular parts should appear to pass without abruptness 
from the one to the other. Thus, the muscles of the neck 
should gradually expand into those of the breast, and these 
again into the shoulders, while the muscles of the shoulders 
should pass into those behind, so as to leave littla hollow- 
ness ; and the flanks before the stifle-bone should be well 
filled up.* 

* The following are the popular characters usually given as indicative of 
the property of fattening, and the suitable form, in the Ox ; from which it will 
be seen, that the results of observation and experience accord with those which 
may be derived from an examination of the functions and structure of the 

1. The head shall be fine, somewhat long, and diminishing to the muzzle, 
which shall be thin. 

2. The horns shall be fine, and placed on the summit of the head ; the eyes 
shall be prominent and clear. 

3. The neck shall be free from coarseness, large where it joins the shoulder 
and breast, and diminishing to the head. 

4. The breast shall be wide, and project well in front of the fore-limbs. 

5. The shoulder shall be broad, but join without abruptness to the neck be- 
fore, and to the chine behind. 

6. The back and loins shall be straight, wide, and flat. 

7. The girth behind the shoulders shall be large, and the ribs well arched. 

8. The hook-bones shall be far apart and nearly on a level with the back- 
bone ; and from the hook -bone to the bending down of the tail, the quarter 
shall be long, broad, and straight. 

9. The tail shall be broad at the upper part, and small and progressively 
diminishing towards the extremity. 

10. The legs shall be short, fleshy to the knee and hock, and below the joints 
flat and thin, and the hoofs shall be small. 

11. The skin shall be soft to the touch, the belly shall not hang down, there 
shall be little hollo wness behind the shoulders, and tho flanks shall be well 
filled up. 


These are the principal characters which indicate, in the 
Ox, the property of adding to the fatty matter of the body, 
and, consequently, of becoming sooner fitted for human food. 
Those which indicate, in the female, the faculty of yielding 
much milk, differ in certain respects. The extreme broad- 
ness of chest, so important in the case of the fattening animal, 
is not required in the case of the milch cow, although there 
is nothing inconsistent between this conformation and the 
power of yielding much milk. But the points essential to 
the milch cow are rather connected with the hinder than with 
the anterior extremities. The loins should be wide, and the 
trunk deep from the loins to the mammae. This form exist- 
ing, the more the cow possesses of the other characters, the 
better is she fitted to combine the property of yielding milk 
with that of fattening. In a cow designed for breeding ani- 
mals to be fattened, the milching property is only secondary, 
yet a cow will produce the better calves that she is wide and 
deep in the lumbar region. A purely dairy cow should have 
a soft skin, clear eyes, and a narrow and elongated head ; 
the udder should be of good size, but have sufficient muscular 
power to prevent its being flaccid. The superficial veins 
near the udder should be well marked, but especially the 
large vein which runs along the lower side of the belly on 
each side, termed the subcutaneous abdominal vein. This 
last is popularly called the milk-vein, although it is not 
directly connected with the mammary organs. The follow- 
ing is an outline of a Dairy Cow of the Ayrshire Breed. 

Fig. 12. 


The skin of the ox, it has been said, should be soft to the 
touch, but not thin ; it should likewise be unctuous, and well 
covered with soft hair. By refinement in breeding, and espe- 
cially by breeding from animals near of blood, the hair be- 
comes short and scanty ; but when this is so, we are reminded 
that we are deviating from the natural characters in a point 
connected with hardiness of constitution. The colour of the 
hair depends upon causes which we have not yet been able 
to trace. In this country, certain races tend to the black 
colour, while others are never found but of the lighter. The 
Short-Horned and Hereford breeds are never found but red 
or white, while the Long-horned, like the cattle of the moun- 
tains, are often black. It does not appear that the colour of 
the hair is of very great moment with regard to the hardi- 
ness of the animal, though, in cases of high breeding, as in 
the Short-horned variety, the white colour seems to be a con- 
sequence of constitutional deviation from the natural state. 
The muzzle, in certain breeds, is light or flesh-coloured ; and in 
others black ; and this character frequently affords an indica- 
tion of the purity of an animal, or, in other words, its free- 
dom from intermixture of blood with other races. 

The Sheep differs greatly from the Ox in sfze and form ; 
but there are certain characters common to both, which in- 
dicate their adaptation to the same uses. In the Sheep, the 
cranium is relatively larger than in the Ox, the pieces are 
more closely united, and the frontal bones forming the fore- 
head comparatively more thick, as if to fit the animal for that 
method of attack which is natural to him ; but generally the 
bones of the sheep are of a greatly less dense consistence 
than those of the ox. The Sheep has usually horns, which 
are rough, angular, and tending to the spiral, but under the 
effects of domestication, the horns frequently disappear in 
one or both sexes ; and the largest and most highly culti- 
vated races of this country are destitute of horns. The or- 
bits of the sheep are large, and the eyes correspond in size 
and prominence with this conformation. 

The Sheep, like the Ox, is furnished with a cartilaginous 


pad in the upper jaw, on which the incisor teeth of the lower 
press. His incisors have a certain- power of motion, so that 
the animal can suit them to sinuosities of the surface when 
pasturing ; and his upper lip being partially cleft, he has the 
power of placing his mouth close to the ground, so that he 
can crop the shortest herbage. He has 8 incisor teeth in the 
lower jaw, and 6 molars on each side of both jaws, so that 
the disposition of his teeth may be represented, precisely as 
in the case of the ox, thus : 

Molar. Canine. Incisor. Canine. Molar. 
Upper jaw, .6 .0 6 

Under jaw, .6 8 6 

The Sheep has 7 vertebrae of the neck, 13 of the back, 6 of 
the loins. The sacrum terminates in the caudal vertebrae, 
which vary in number to 21. The sternum is thin, and has 
attached to it the projection, partly cartilaginous and partly 
muscular, termed the brisket. 

The integuments of the sheep are thick and dense, covered 
partly with hair and partly with wool, kept soft by an oily 
secretion from the skin. In the wilder races the hair is 
largely mixed with the wool ; under artificial treatment, the 
hair diminishes in quantity, and at length is confined to the 
face and legs, all the rest of the fleece being woolly. The 
filaments of the wool possess more or less tenuity, softness, 
and length. 

The following figure is an outline of a ram of the New 
Leicester breed, divested of his wool. 

Fig. 13. 


The Sheep may be cultivated chiefly for the production of 
human food, or chiefly for wool for clothing. In this country 
the Sheep is chiefly cultivated for the former of these pur* 
poses ; and the same general characters which indicate the 
facility of fattening readily in the Ox, indicate it in the Sheep. 
But in producing those characters in the Sheep, there is a 
class of considerations to which we must pay regard even 
more than in the case of the Ox, namely, those which relate to 
health, and the conditions under which the animal is to subsist. 
The Sheep is subj ect to a multitude of dangerous maladies ; 
and great losses, extending to the destruction of whole flocks, 
may result from increasing his fattening properties, at the 
expense of robustness and general health. In certain cases 
he is maintained in an artifical state in a country of enclosures, 
but in others he is compelled to submit to the inclemency of 
all weathers, and to travel to great distances over the steril 
mountains, heaths, and downs, which afford him herbage. 
The same delicacy of form which might adapt him to one 
condition of external agents might unfit him for another ; 
and even under the most favourable circumstances, his deli- 
cacy of form and fattening properties may be increased at 
the expense of others not less necessary to be taken into 
the account. 

The Sheep, like the Ox, may be said to stand within a rect- 
angle ; and the more of the rectangular space his body occu- 
pies in proportion to his limbs, the better is he fitted for 
producing a large quantity of muscle and fat in propor- 
tion to his dimensions. When we look, therefore, for this 
property alone, we say that in the Sheep, as in the Ox, the 
body should be large in proportion to the limbs, or, in other 
words, that the limbs should be short in proportion to the 

The head should be relatively small, as indicating that 
delicacy of the extremities which denotes an animal that 
readily assimilates his food. The face should be covered 
with short hair, the channel of the jaws should be wide, the 


external ears should be thin, the eyes prominent and clear, 
the neck should be short and well covered with muscles, 
which should expand quickly from the points of attachment 
at the cranium and jaws towards the breast and shoulder. 
A thinness of the neck, although not inconsistent with the 
property of fattening, usually indicates a deficiency of muscle 
on the breast and shoulder, and, generally, a want of vigour 
in the animal. 

The neck should be slightly arched ; but in certain races 
it is nearly level with the back. From the neck to the pel- 
vis the upper line of the back should be straight, and nearly 
so from the loins to the bending downward of the tail. The 
back should be of medium length, and the distance between 
the last rib and the pelvis relatively short. Breeders, in- 
deed, desire a long sheep ; but the character of length, de- 
rived from extension of the dorsal and lumbar parts, does 
not indicate vigour or disposition to fatten, but merely a 
larger extent of muscular substance. But the haunch should 
always be long from the haunch -bones backward, this con- 
formation never indicating the weakness which may result 
from a too great extension in length' of the back and loins. 

The upper line of the haunch, it has been said, should be 
long and straight from the haunch-bones backward. When 
it droops considerably, as in the less cultivated breeds, the 
conformation is regarded as defective. Further, the whole 
haunch or quarter should be broad and deep, corresponding 
to the depth of trunk, and the muscles should be largely de- 
veloped in the inside of the tibia, forming what is popularly 
called the twist. 

The ribs should be very curved, proceeding at first hori- 
zontally from the spine, from which conformation it will re- 
sult that the back will be broad as well as straight. In cer- 
tain highly cultivated breeds, the horizontal expansion of the 
ribs is so great that often it seems to the eye as if the body 
were more broad than deep. The transverse processes of 
the lumbar region should, in an especial degree, be largo, 


I indicating broad loins, a character denoting, in the case of 
all animals, strength of back and general hardihood. 

The haunch-bones should be distant from one another, in- 
dicating the character, before referred to, of broadness of the 
haunch ; the breast should be wide, largely covered with 
muscle, and projecting well in front of the fore-limbs. In 
consequence of the width of the breast, the fore- legs will be 
distant from one another, and the same character should ex- 
tend to the posterior limbs, indicating the lateral extension 
of the body at every part. The limbs should be fleshy down 
to the knees and hocks, and below these joints, narrow when 
seen from the front, and flat when seen in profile. There 
should be a general absence of angular points and hollows, 
as where the neck joins the shoulder, the shoulder the parts 
behind, and the loins the haunch. 

The skin, too, should present that softness to the touch 
which indicates facility in fattening in all animals known to 
us. It should be closely covered with wool, extending to 
the face, which is covered with a short hair, and to the knees 
and hocks, where the tendinous parts of the muscles begin. 

The characters which indicate the property of producing 
wool of different length and fineness have not been so accu- 
rately determined. It is known merely that different races 
have the faculty of producing wool different in the length, 
tenuity, softness, and other properties of the fibre. In gene- 
ral, the sheep long naturalized in countries of abundant 
herbage produce long thick wool, while those acclimated in 
countries yielding the finer herbage plants, produce wool 
more or less short and fine. But whatever be the conditions 
under which different kinds of wool are produced, it is known 
that the property can be transmitted from the parents to the 
young, in the same manner as other characters acquired. 

The Hog differs greatly in conformation and habits from 
the animals that have been described. His face is termi- 
nated by a cartilaginous disc, endued with great strength 
and exquisite sensibility, with which he grubs up the roots, 



larvae, and other food which he finds under ground. His 
neck is strong and muscular ; his limbs in the natural state 
are short and stout ; his skin is very thick, and covered with 
bristles. He possesses the kind of teeth suited to animals 
that are omnivorous, and the canines bending upward, be- 
come in the male formidable weapons. His feet are cloven, 
and defended by strong hoofs, and he has toes behind which 
do not reach the ground. The following is an outline of the 
Wild Boar and Sow, brought from the south of Europe. 

Fig. 14. 

Differing so greatly in conformation as this animal does 
from those which have been described, yet the same general 
characters indicate in him, as in all the others, the faculty 
of readily assimilating his food, and of quickly arriving at 
that maturity of muscle and fatness, which fits him for the 
uses for which he is destined ; and there is no other animal 
known to us which so easily receives the characters which 
we seek to impress upon it, or transmits them more faith- 
fully to his offspring, " 

The breast should be wide and deep, and the trunk capa- 
cious. The extremities, namely, the head, the tail, and the 
lower part of the limbs, should be delicate ; and the legs 
should be short in proportion to the size of the trunk. 



The skin should be soft and expansive, and the bristles soft 
and approaching to the character of hair. The following 
figures will shew the surprising deviation from the natural 
form which the animal, under the influence of domestication, 
exhibits. The first is an outline of the Old English Sow, 
exhibiting almost all the characters of external form which 
breeders study to avoid ; the second is an outline of a cross 
between a female 'of the Siamese race and a native male of 
a fine breed, shewing the characters which are held to be 
good, and the consequent tendency to obesity which these 
characters indicate. 

Fig. 15. 

Fig. 16. 

The physiological effects have been referred to of breeding 
from animals nearly allied to one another in blood. When 
carried to the degree of continually reuniting animals of the 
nearest affinities, as parents with their offspring, and brothers 
with sisters, the effect, after a time, is manifested in the im- 



pairment of the constitution of the animals, and at length 
in unfitting them for reproducing their own kind. In the 
practice which has existed in England of forming artificial 
breeds of sheep and cattle, this class of experiments has 
been made to the degree of shewing the limits to which 
it can be carried, under a regard to the safety, and even 
existence, of the animals. In the original formation of some 
of the finer artificial breeds of this country, animals were 
sought for having the characters which it was designed to 
cultivate. But the breeders, unwilling to mix the blood of 
inferior races with that of their own improved stocks, con- 
tinued to breed from them alone, and found, by experience, 
that the nearer in affinities of blood, and consequently of 
characters, the parents were, the more their progeny re- 
sembled them. Hence the extensive system of breeding 
" in-and-in," as it was called, pursued by the earlier breed- 
ers, as Bakewell, Colling, and others. The effect was very 
quickly to produce a distinct family, distinguished by the 
characters communicated to it. But this effect was followed 
by another which was not contemplated, and could scarcely 
have been inferred independently of experience. The ani- 
mals arrived sooner at maturity, and thus became more 
quickly adapted to the uses for which they were intended, 
the supply of human food : so that one of the most import- 
ant ends of the breeder was attained, the procuring of ani- 
mals fitted to arrive at early maturity of muscle and fatness, 
in which respects some of the artificial breeds of England 
became the finest in the world, and still surpass those of any 
other country. But the practice was soon discovered to have 
its limits, and, when carried too far, to produce all the effects 
on the system which have been referred to. The animals, 
with their earlier maturity, and increased tendency to obe- 
sity, became less hardy ; their skins became thinner, and 
the hairy or woolly covering more scanty ; their limbs be- 
came more slender ; the males lost so much of the masculine 
characters as often to be incapable of propagating their race, 


while the power of the females to secrete milk diminished ; 
and both sexes were rendered more subject to diseases, as 
apoplexy, and inflammation of the digestive and respiratory 
organs. While, then, it is important to be aware of this 
mean of communicating certain properties to animals culti- 
vated for human food, it is no less important to be aware 
of its tendency to impair that sound health, and constitu- 
tional hardiness, on which the profit of the breeder may 
often more depend, than even on an early maturity of the 
animal system. 



OF the Ruminating Animals, the most varied in their 
forms, the most beautiful and swift, are the Deer and Ante- 
lope tribes ; the former furnished with solid antlers of bone, 
which, in all the species but one, are confined to the male, 
and which fall off after the season of Bexual intercourse ; the 


latter possessed of hollow horns, like those of the Ox, the 
Sheep, and the Goat, enveloping permanent nuclei of bone 
proceeding from the forehead. Of the many species of Deer, 
only one, the Reindeer, an inhabitant of the northern glacial 
region, has been subjected to true domesticity, although in- 
dividuals of the other species may be readily tamed to sub- 
mission and dependence. Of the Antelope tribes, all the 
species remain in a state of liberty, apparently endowed with 
instincts which cause them to shun the dangerous vicinage 
of man. But the Antelopes, wild, timid, and indocile as they 
seem, are most of them gentle and submissive when reared 
up under human protection, and might, doubtless, like their 
congeners, be reduced to domestication : and further, the 
Antelopes approach by insensible gradations to the forms of 
those animals which Nature has fashioned to subject them- 
selves most readily to the physical force and moral influence 
of our race. At one point they are connected with the mas- 
sive forms of the Bovine group, and at another they pass 
into the Goats so nearly, that the line which separates the 
species scarcely forms a natural boundary. The chief dis- 
tinction between them and the Goats is in the bony nuclei of 
the horns, which, in the Antelopes, are hard and solid, in the 
Goats cellular, and communicating with the frontal sinuses. 
As the Antelopes pass into the Goats, so the latter pass into 
the Sheep. The internal organization of both the families is 
the same ; they bear their young for the same period, have a 
similar sound of the voice, and they breed with one another, 
giving birth to a progeny partaking of the characters of the 
parents. Both are covered with a mixture of hair and wool ; 
but in the Goats the true wool rarely predominates over the 
hair, so as to form the essential covering of the body. The 
horns of the Goat are more straight and upright than those 
of the Sheep, though in some varieties of Goats the horns 
are spirally twisted, and in some varieties of Sheep, as in 
the short-tailed kinds of northern Europe, the horns are as 
straight as in the Goat. The Goat has generally bristly 


hairs on the breast, throat, and lower jaw, forming a distinct 
beard ; but in some Goats these are wanting, and in some of 
the ruder varieties of Sheep a beard appears, although it is 
never so fully developed as in the male of Goats. The Goat 
has a short tail, naked below, and carried more or less up- 
right ; but this character likewise exists in certain races of 
Sheep, as in those of the Zetland Islands, and generally in 
the other races of the extreme north of Europe. The skin 
of the Goat emits a peculiar musky odour, which, so far as 
is known, does not exist in any race of Sheep ; yet there are 
Goats in the countries of the East which are destitute of the 
hircine odour. It is said, indeed, that the Sheep is distin- 
guished from the Goat by the former possessing interdigital 
glands ; but this character is not ascertained to be univer- 
sal ; and it must, therefore, be admitted that all the charac- 
ters of form employed to discriminate the two groups are 
technical and trivial. It is chiefly by the general aspect and 
habitudes of the species that we can separate them into ge- 
nera. The Goat always approaches more in form and habits 
to the Antelope tribes than the Sheep, and may be regarded 
as the connecting link between them. While the Sheep, in 
the state of domestication, is comparatively submissive and 
timid, the Goat is restless, bold, and independent, even when 
most enslaved. He is familiar and capricious, wanders at 
will from his fellows of the flock, and seeks the craggy sum- 
mits of the mountains where his native plants are to be found. 
He boldly faces the enemies that assail him, and manifests a 
greater confidence in his human protectors than the Sheep. 

From the earliest period of human societies, this wild and 
erratic creature seems to have been subjected to the power 
of man. We read of him as coeval with the Ox and the 
Sheep in those fair regions of the East where the first dawn 
of civilization appears through the mists of time. He en- 
tered into the mythological systems of the first nations, and, 
by the earlier observers of the heavens, was appointed to be a 
sign in the Zodiac, with Aries and Taurus, his fellows in the 
service of man ; although, in ancient Indian delineations of the 


Zodiac, the Antelope, and not the Goat, is used as the sign 
of Capricorn. The Sacred Writings continually refer to the 
Goat as forming, along with the Sheep, the Ox. and the Camel, 
the riches of the patriarchal families. He is one of the ani- 
mals permitted by the laws of Moses .to be used as human 
food, and he is ordained to be employed in a remarkable re- 
ligious ceremony. He was cultivated by the Hindoos from 
the earliest times ; and he is figured on the sculptured monu- 
ments of the Egyptians, in their representations of mystic 
emblems, religious rites, and rural labours. By the earliest 
writers of Greece and Rome he is continually referred to as 
yielding food and raiment ; and superstition connected him 
with the attributes and service of the Gods. He was dedi- 
cated to Jupiter Conservator, and sacrificed to Apollo, Diana, 
Bacchus, and the Paphian Venus, and his skin was the JEgi* 
of the Goddess of Wisdom and Arms. His form was one of 
the attributes of Pan and the Satyrs, indicating the procrea- 
tive power and rustic plenty. He was domesticated by the 
Lybians and the nations that stretched along the southern 
shores of the Mediterranean inland to the mountains of Atlas. 
He was cultivated by the Dacians, Sarmatians, and other 
nations stretching from the Euxine into the wilds of Scythia. 
The Gauls and all the Celtic people of Europe appear to have 
been possessed of him in the domesticated state, using his 
hair and skin for garments, and his fiesh and milk for food. 
Up to nearly the present day, the descendants of the pristine 
Celtre cultivated the Goat, as one of the most useful of the 
animals given to them for food. Until a recent period, the 
Cambro-Britons and the Celtic people of the mountains of 
North Britain and Ireland, made greater use of the Goat 
than of the Sheep ; and many of their appellations of families, 
places, mountains, rivers, and natural objects, are derived 
from the name which it bears in the Celtic tongue. In like 
manner, the Scandinavian, the German, and other Teutonic 
nations, who had migrated in the first ages into Europe from 
the East, were possessed of this gift of Providence, used his 
spoils for raiment and food, arid coupled him with their wild 


mperstitions. In short, the Goat appears to have been 
domesticated wherever the traces are found of that great 
Western Family of mankind, which, united by analogies of 
form, speech, and traditionary legends, appears to have been 
derived from a common source, and spread from a common 
centre. But the domesticated Goat was not confined to this 
division of the human race. It extended, beyond a question, 
all through the boundless regions of Eastern Asia to the 
ocean, comprehending tribes and nations, which, however 
distinct from the western family of the human race in aspect, 
character, and speech, yet agreed with it in this, that the 
same domesticated animals ministered to the wants of both. 
But the insular continent of New Holland never possessed 
the Goat ; for no trace of this, or of any of the ruminating 
animals which had elsewhere followed the footsteps of man, 
as instruments of civilization, was found at the discovery of 
this new world. Neither did it exist in any of the Polyne- 
sian Islands ; and, more strange and incomprehensible still, 
no vestige either of the domesticated Goat, or of his uni- 
versal companions in the ancient world, the Sheep, the Ox, 
and the Horse, was found in the great American Continent, 
though peopled from end to end. 

The wild animals of the Caprine group which have been 
as yet discovered, and described by naturalists, are the fol- 
lowing : 

1. CAPRA IBEX, the Alpine Ibex. 

2. CAPRA CAUCASICA, the Caucasian Ibex. 

3. CAPRA SIBIRICA, the Siberian Ibex. 

4. CAPRA NUBIANA, the Nubian or xVbyssinian Ibex. 

5. CAPRA ^EGAGRUS, the ^Egagrus. 

6. CAPRA JEMLAHICA, the Jemlah Goat. 

7. CAPRA JAHRAL, the Jahral Goat. 

The ALPINE IBEX, the Bouquetin of the natives of the 
Alps, the Stein-bok, or Rock-Goat of the Germans, inhabits the 
Pyrenees, the Alps of Switzerland, and the Tyrol, and pro- 
bably other mountainous parts of Europe. He resembles the 


domestic Goat in his external form, but surpasses it in sta- 
ture. He is protected by a coat of lank hair covering a down 
of delicate wool, which falls off in the warmer season. The 
colour of his fur is a grayish dusky brown, fawn-coloured on 
the belly, and whitish on the inner part of the thighs, the in- 
side of the ears, and a part of the tail. He has a beard, and 
a dark brown ridge of bristly hairs extending from the neck 
to the tail, which is shdrt and naked underneath. He has 
large black horns, bending backwards, and turning outward 
towards the points. His hoofs are large, widely cleft, and 
sharp at the exterior edges, so that he can fix himself se- 
curely on the points and shelving sides of rocks. This con- 
formation, joined to his surpassing power of balancing his 
body, and the great strength of his posterior limbs, enables 
him to make those amazing bounds from crag to crag, by 
which he is enabled to traverse the wilderness of rocks which 
he inhabits. He has been seen to spring up the steep side 
of a precipice of many feet, nay, striking the sides to give 
himself a fresh impetus, ascend to the perilous summit as if 
by a single effort ; and, on the other hand, to precipitate 
himself from an eminence, alighting securely on the verge of 
the precipice. It is believed by the hunters of the Alps, that, 
when springing from a great height, he bends his head be- 
neath his forelegs, so as to break his fall by striking the rock 
with his horns. It is rather to be believed, that his power of 
thus precipitating himself is due to his nice power of balanc- 
ing his weight, and the conformation of the horny covering 
of his feet. The female resembles the male, but her horns 
are shorter, more slender, and less curved. She has two 
mammee, forming an udder. She goes with young somewhat 
more than twenty weeks, .and produces one, or often two, at 
a birth. She receives the male about the end of October, so 
that the kids may be born when the new shoots and leaves 
of the vernal season appear. When about to give birth to 
her young, she seeks some lonely place where she may be 
safe from surprise, usually near some rivulet or spring, pro- 
ceeding from the glaciers and mountains of snow which sur- 


round her. The kids, when born, are covered with a short 
gray fur of hair and wool ; their limbs are stout, and their 
bodies light and buoyant; and in a few hours they are able 
to follow the dam, who vigilantly guards them from the at- 
tacks of eagles and other beasts of prey. 

These wild and powerful Goats are gregarious, and found 
in small flocks ; but individuals separate from the herd, and 
form their solitary lairs, like the stag and other deer. At 
the rutting season, desperate conflicts take place for the pos- 
session of the females, the stronger expelling the weaker, and 
thus fulfilling a natural provision for preserving the proper- 
ties of the race, by giving the privilege of propagating it to 
the most vigorous. They inhabit the highest part of the 
mountains, near the line of perpetual congelation and the 
limits of vegetable life, and beyond the range of the wildest 
of the Antelopes. They feed on the herbaceous willows, the 
juniper, the crowberry, and other plants of the higher moun- 
tains. In winter they descend to the lower slopes of the 
hills, but never venture into the plains and woods of the 
level country. They have the senses of sight, smell, and 
hearing, in exquisite perfection. Perched on the loftiest 
peaks, in the region of clouds and mist, they watch the mo- 
tions of their enemies, and on their approach give signal of 
danger to their comrades by a shrill whistle, when all betake 
themselves to the neighbouring mountains of rock and ever- 
lasting ice, where human foot cannot follow them. Yet they 
are made the subject of the chase by the hardy hunters of the 
Chamois Antelope, who steal upon them in their lonely lairs, 
or bring them down by the fatal ball from the distant preci- 
pice. When brought to bay, it is said they have been known 
to precipitate themselves upon their pursuers, and hurl them 
down a precipice. Incessant persecution has thinned their 
numbers ; so that, in the mountains of Europe, where they 
once abounded, they are now scarcely to be found. 

This creature, so powerful, vigilant, and wild, is yet formed 
to submit himself to human control. When the kids are 


taken young, they are tamed with facility, and adopt the 
habits of the domesticated flock. They breed with the tame 
race, when kept together ; and it is an old opinion of the 
shepherds of the Pyrenees and Alps, that Bouquetins some- 
times come down from the higher mountains and mingle with 
the females of the flock. The offspring of these supposed 
unions are said to be larger and more robust than the com- 
mon Goats, and are selected by the shepherds to be leaders 
of the flock. 

The CAUCASIAN IBEX, inhabiting the mountains of Taurus 
and the Caucasus, so nearly resembles the Alpine Ibex, in 
habits, colour, and form, that there seems to be no sufficient 
reason for regarding it as specifically distinct. The princi- 
pal divergence is in the horns ; but how greatly the horns of 
the ruminating tribes vary with age and place, is known in 
other cases ; and it is altogether probable, that the Ibex of 
the Caucasus is no other than the Ibex of the Alps of Eu- 
rope : and the same remark applies to the Ibex of the Ura- 
lian mountains, termed Siberian. If future observation shall 
shew that these species are identical, then the Ibex must be 
characterized as having a surprising range of country. He is 
an inhabitant of most of the great mountain ranges of Asia 
and Europe, stretching from the Pyrenees to the Caucasus, 
and thence, it may be believed, eastward to the snowy heights 
of central Asia, and northward, by the Uralian and other 
mountain chains, to Siberia and the Sea of Okotsk. 

But Africa, where the forms of animal life present them- 
selves under a new aspect, possesses likewise its mountain 
Goats. The NUBIAN or ABYSSINIAN IBEX, has been found 
at the eastern termination of that prodigious chain of moun- 
tains, which, more or less continuously, seems to intersect 
the continent from east to west. It is believed, but upon 
doubtful grounds, that the same species is found in the moun- 
tains of Arabia. The Abyssinian Ibex is described as being 
larger than the Ibex of Europe ; as having little beard, but 
a ridge of long hairs on the throat and sternum, and a dark 


line on the anterior part of the legs and along the back ; and 
as having very large horns bent in a half circle.* 

The JEGAGRUS, Capra JEgagrus of Pallas, inhabits the 
mountain chains of Western Asia, from the Caucasus east- 
ward, by the countries of the Caspian, to an unknown dis- 
tance, and southward, through the high lands of Persia and 
Caubul, into Hindostan. It is the Pazan of the Persians ; and 
is believed to be one of the animals which yield the concre- 
tion termed Bezoar, to which certain healing virtues are 
ascribed by the Orientals. It resembles the common Goats 
in its general form : it has very large horns, sometimes want- 
ing in the females, of a brown ashy colour, marked with 
tubercles, and sharp at the anterior edge, bending backward 
and turning outward at the points. The hair of the body is 
a grayish-brown, with a dark ridge along the spine, extend- 
ing to the termination of the tail. The beard, of a rufous 
colour, is long in the male, but shorter in the female, and 
coarse hairs extend from the throat down the breast. This 
creature is exceedingly wild, but inhabits a lower range of 
altitude than the Ibex. It is numerous in the higher parts 
of Asia Minor, and is believed by many naturalists to be the 
parent stock of most of the domestic Goats ; and by some to 
be the common Goat restored to a state of liberty. 

The JEMLAH GOAT, Capra Jemlahica of Colonel Hamilton 
Smith, is found in the most elevated parts of Central Asia. 
It is described by this eminent naturalist, from a skin trans- 
mitted to the British Museum, as being nearly of the size of 
the Ibex, and as having the horns nearly in contact at the 
base, of a pale ashy-buff colour, nodose, very depressed, nine 
inches long, bending outwards, then turning suddenly, so as 
to meet nearly over the neck. The bones of the head are 
dense and ponderous, the tail is very short, and there is no 
true beard. The colour of the hair, with the exception of 
some darkish streaks, is a dull light fawn, with locks of 

* Colonel Hamilton Smith. 


brown interspersed ; and on the cheeks the hair is long and 
coarse, hanging like a lion's mane on each side of the head. 
Nothing is known of the habits of this beautiful Goat. Its 
external characters shew it to be distinct from the Ibex of 
the Caucasus and Europe. 

The JAHRAL GOAT, Capra Jahral of Hodgson, has been 
found in the mountains of Nepaul. It is described as having 
the head finely formed, full of expression, clad in short hairs, 
and without any vestige of beard. It is of a compact and ro- 
bust make ; is found solitary or in flocks ; is bold, capricious, 
wantcn, pugnacious, and easily domesticated. It has the 
horns nine inches in length, smooth, and sharpened towards 
the points, and not turned inward or nodose, like those of the 
Jemlah. It is clothed with a coat of hair covering a fine and 
delicate wool, of one length and colour. Superficially the 
hair is brown, but internally it is blue, and the mane is for 
the most part of the same colour. The tongue, the palate, 
and the skin of the lips, are black, and the iris is of a deep 
reddish hazel.* 

In America, the Goat is represented by the Wool-bearing 
Antelope, which approaches so nearly in character to the 
Goat, that it is by some naturalists included in the latter 

Such are the wild of the Caprine family which naturalists 
have discriminated ; but how far the list yet remains to be 
corrected, or extended, is unknown. The great mountains 
and elevated plains of Central Asia have as yet been imper- 
fectly opened to European research, and the paths of the tra- 
veller are but as specks and lines in the countries to be ex- 
plored. The boundless terraces and interior mountains of 
the African continent, which may be regarded as the centre 
of a distinct order of living beings, may be said to be as yet 
untrodden by the foot of civilized man ; and we know nothing 
of the treasures which this vast wilderness may contain, be- 

* Hodgson Proceedings of the Zoological Society. 


yond the animals which approach the coasts, or are found in 
the few countries which are accessible. We may expect that, 
as future explorers advance into the wilder regions of tjie 
two continents, the natural history of the Caprine family will 
be illustrated and extended. But, as domesticated Goats are 
found in the possession of almost all the nations of the Old 
Continents, a natural inquiry, even in the present state of 
our knowledge, arises, as to the parent stock from which 
these animals, so generally diffused, have been derived. 

Ancient writers frequently speak of Wild Goats in a man- 
ner which leads us to conclude that they regarded them 
merely as the wild of the common race. But the notices of 
these writers are so vague and imperfect, that we do not 
know whether they referred to the Ibex, the ^Egagrus, the 
Chamois Antelope, or any other species formerly inhabiting 
the same countries, but now driven away or destroyed. The 
opinion prevalent until a recent period was, that the Ibex 
was the parent stock of the common Goats ; but since the 
JEgagrus has been admitted to be a distinct species, the 
general opinion of naturalists has been, that the latter rather 
than the Ibex, is the wild of th^ common Goat. But the 
^Egagrus does not approach nearer in habitudes and form to 
the common Goats than the Ibex ; and although the latter 
inhabits a higher range of mountains, he seems to resign his 
natural liberty with equal readiness. Further, the Jemlah 
Goat, and, by analogy, we may believe, others of the genus, 
seem to be all endowed with the faculty of resigning their 
natural freedom, and submitting to domestication. The most 
probable supposition, therefore, is, that the domesticated 
Goats have been derived not from one, but from different 
species. Not only do the Goats of different countries differ 
from one another, but there exist in the same country, under 
the same conditions of climate and food, races so divergent, 
that it is scarcely possible to believe that they have not been 
derived from stirpes distinct in the wild state. The Syrian 
Goat, so called, with a convex face and with an udder in the 


female hanging to the ground, is as different from the Com- 
mon Goats of the same country as the Jackal from the Wolf, 
and has retained, as we know from ancient notices, its dis- 
tinctive characters for twenty centuries at least ; that is, for 
nearly two thousand generations of the race. The little 
Goats of the coast of Guinea have been acclimated in America 
and the West India Islands for more than a hundred years, 
without making the least approach to those carried to the 
same countries from Europe. These and similar facts are 
irreconcilable with the supposition of a common descent, and 
lead to the conclusion, that different species of Goats, having 
the property of procreating with one another, have produced 
the domesticated races. 

The Goat, extended throughout so many climates and dis- 
tant countries, and subjected to conditions of life far different 
from those to which his natural instincts adapt him, must 
present himself to us with great variations of form and aspect, 
independently of the diversities arising from those of the 
parent stock. Sometimes the horns disappear in one or 
both sexes, and in certain cases the animals become poly- 
cerate ; sometimes the hair is long, and sometimes it is as 
short as in the fallow deer ; and sometimes the beard is very 
long, and sometimes it is rudimental. The colour assumes 
every variety, from sandy- black to milk-white, and the size 
and form of the body are greatly varied. Of the Goats of 
Central Asia the most celebrated and best known in Europe 
are those of Thibet, which are noted beyond all others for 
the soft and delicate wool they produce, and which falls off 
in the warmer season, affording the material of one of the 
most beautiful fabrics of the Eastern looms. These Goats 
are long in the body, having large falcated horns, stout 
limbs, and long glossy hair, frequently a foot and a half in 
length, trailing almost to the ground. The colour is fre- 
quently milk-white, but more generally it is brown, with 
points of a golden yellow. The wool, tending of itself to fall 
off at a certain season, is easily separated by means of combs, 



while the hair is left. It is then spun by females, and after- 
wards the threads are dyed of the colours required. A shawl 
of the finest fabric takes a year or more in making. Four 
persons, and in the case of plain shawls, two, sit at a frame, 
using numerous needles. In working, the rough part of the 
shawl is uppermost. A superintendent regulates the pattern, 
and when the shawl is woven it is carried to the custom- 
house, stamped, and a duty paid upon it corresponding to its 
fineness and value.* In the province of Cashmere alone, it 
is computed that 30,000 of these beautiful fabrics are manu- 
factured every year. They are in universal demand over the 
East for their softness, durability, and the beauty of their 
colours. The Goats which yield the wool are chiefly derived 
from Thibet ; Cashmere itself being too warm for the growth 
of the finest wool. The Goats of Thibet and the neighbour- 
ing countries have been introduced into Europe, in the hope 
of producing the fine wool which gives them so great a value 
in their native clime. In France especially, eager endeavours 
were made to establish the manufacture of shawls similar to 
those of Cashmere ; but from the small quantity of wool 
yielded by the Goats, and the great manual labour required, 
the manufacture did not succeed as a branch of national 
industry. Attempts, too, were made to introduce these Goats, 
for the production of wool, into England, but with still less 
prospect of a favourable result, from the humidity of the 
climate. The native -country of these Goats, it is to be 
observed, being vastly elevated, is subject to extremes of 
temperature ; and the growth of fine wool being a natural 
provision for keeping the animals warm, it would probably 
soon cease to be produced in more temperate climates. 

Stretching from the mountains of Thibet into the elevated 
steppes of the interior, northward to the Arctic Regions, 
eastward through Chinese Tartary to the ocean, and westward 
through the vast dominions of Russia to the confines of Europe. 

* Tour in the Upper Provinces of Hindostan. 


the Goats of the settled inhabitants and nomadic tribes 
are in prodigious numbers. These Goats are thickly covered 
with long coarse hair, usually of a dark hue ; but in the cul- 
tivated countries, they vary greatly in colour and other cha- 
racters. In the northern provinces of China, there are Goats, 
of a small size, which yield wool as abundantly as the sheep 
of the same country. Extending over the varied surface of 
Hindostan, the Goats assume a prodigious diversity of colour, 
aspect, and form. Sometimes they have horns, and some- 
times they are destitute of horns ; sometimes they have long 
pendulous ears ; sometimes they have a short fur, like that 
of a fawn, and sometimes fine silky hair falling in glossy 
ringlets on each side of the dorsal line. The largest of the 
Goats of Hindostan are brought from Caubul, Thibet, and the 
high lands of Persia. 

In the Turkish dominions in Asia, the races of Goats are 
greatly varied, and often very beautiful. The Goat of Angora 
is the native of a district of Asia Minor, and is remarkable 
for its long waving silky hair, which is spun into threads, of 
which a kind of camblet is made, esteemed beyond all other 
cloths of the East for its durability. The Goats of Angora 
have been brought to France, where they have become readily 
naturalized, and do not appear to be more tender than the 
common kinds. They have been carried likewise to Sweden ? 
and other parts of Europe ; but it may be believed that, after 
a time, they will lose that peculiar softness of the hair which 
characterises them in their native country. The soil of An- 
gora is a chalky marl, which seems to have the property of 
communicating to the animals that live upon it a silky tex- 
ture of the hair. The Dog and Cat of the same country are 
distinguished by the glossy softness of their fur, and are very 

Of the other Goats of Asiatic Turkey, one is so peculiar, 
that it is plainly to be referred to an origin distinct from that 
of the Common Goats. It is frequently termed the Syrian 
Goat, though it is not confined to Syria, but extends, by the 


countries of the Euphrates, into Arabia, and, with some slight 
change of characters, into Upper Egypt and Nubia. This 
kind of Goat was known to the ancients, who mention it by 
the name of the Syrian, and sometimes of the Damascus Goat. 
It is generally without horns, has the face singularly con- 
vex, long pendulous ears, delicate limbs, and short hair, 
usually brown. The mammae of the females hang almost to 
the ground. These Goats are more docile than any other, 
and, yielding a large quantity of milk, are greatly valued in 
the arid countries over which they are spread. The same 
form of the Goat appears in Hindostan, and doubtless in 
other countries of Eastern Asia. In Nepaul a beautiful Goat 
is domesticated, which so much resembles the Syrian that 
both appear to be derived from a common stock. It is of a 
slender form, with a convex face, without horns, and with 
long pendulous ears, which are generally white, or of a paler 
tint than the rest of the body. 

Africa abounds in Goats as well as Sheep. Along the 
Barbary coast, the Goats are very fine, resembling those of 
Greece, and other countries of the Mediterranean. From this 
country the Romans derived their choicest breeds. But 
southward of the mountains which bound the great basin 
of the Mediterranean, Nature presents a new aspect, and 
beyond the great Sahara, every living thing, up to man him- 
self, seems changed. But of the Goats of the interior we 
learn little from the casual notices of travellers. We are 
told only that Goats are very numerous, and often so nearly 
resemble Sheep, that the one might be mistaken for the other. 
On the coasts of Guinea, however, the cruel visits of Europeans 
have made us acquainted with a race of Goats, which differ 
from any other known to us. They are of diminutive size, very 
pretty, with short pricked-up ears, and generally with slender 
falcated horns. They have been carried by the slave-ships 
to the settlements of the Spaniards and Portuguese in Ame 
rica, and to the West India Islands, and they have multiplied 
and remained distinct from the other races. 


Of the Goats of Europe, the most varied and beautiful are 
those which inhabit the countries of the Mediterranean. 
They have generally horns, long flowing beards, and hair of 
divers colours, from inilk-white to black. Those of Greece 
and the Islands of the Archipelago have been in esteem from 
early times. The writers of Greece refer to the Achaian, as 
a breed greatly valued The Romans cultivated the Goats 
largely, and their rustic writers give us numerous details 
regarding the modes of rearing and treating them. In 
modern Italy, Goats are very numerous, especially in Cala- 
bria and the mountainous countries. They abound likewise 
in Spain and Portugal, where they are cultivated chiefly for 
their milk, and the flesh of the kids. The Goats there are 
to be seen driven into the cities in the morning, and milked 
at the doors of the houses. In France, there are consider- 
able numbers of Goats, but of no peculiar beauty of race. A 
strong prejudice exists against them on account of the injury 
they cause to the vines and forests. The district in France 
most celebrated for Goats is the Canton of Mont d'Or, where, 
in a space not exceeding two leagues at its largest diameter, 
upwards of eleven thousand are kept, chiefly for the supply 
of the city of Lyons with cheese. In the northern countries 
of Europe, Goats are in considerable numbers ; but for the 
most part they are inferior in size and beauty to those of the 
countries of the Mediterranean. In the heathy mountains 
they become of small size, and are covered with a shaggy 
coat of long brown hair. Sometimes they have escaped from 
servitude, and become as wild and difficult to be approached 
as the Deer of the same countries. 

The Goat, though obeying the law to which all the domesti- 
cated animals are subject, and presenting itself under a great 
variety of aspect, retains many of the characters and habits 
which distinguish it in the state of liberty. It is lively, 
ardent, robust, capable of enduring the most intense cold, and 
seemingly little incommoded by the extremes of heat. It is 
wild, irregular, and erratic in its movements. It is bold in 


its own defence, putting itself in an attitude of defiance when 
provoked by animals, however larger than itself. Its horns 
turning outward at the points, it rises when it fights upon its 
hinder legs, and throwing the weight of its body sidewise, 
endeavours to maim its enemy by oblique strokes of the horns. 
The Ram, on the other hand, whose horns are turned inward, 
cannot use this method of attack, but rushes blindly upon his 
enemy, endeavouring to stun him by the violence of the shock ; 
while the Bull must lower his head to the very ground, in 
order that he may receive his adversary on the points of his 
horns. A dog that will despise a ram, and assail a bull, is 
frequently cowed by the peculiar mode of attack and bold de- 
meanour of the Goat. The domesticated Goat, like those of 
the wild species, is capable of nicely balancing its body; and 
its hoofs being widely cleft, moveable, and sharp at the exte- 
rior edges, it possesses the faculty of fixing itself on the shelv- 
ing edges of rocks, and of leaping from crag to crag. The 
Arabs teach a curious feat to their Goats, which manifests the 
wonderful power in the animals of balancing the body. A 
cylinder of wood is placed on the ground, on the top of which 
the Goat places all his feet ; another piece is then added, on 
which the animal likewise mounts ; and then another^ and 
another, until he stands at the summit of the column. When 
two Goats meet on a narrow ledge of rock, or the top of a 
high wall, the one crouches down, that the other may pass 
over his body, The Goat, obeying his pristine instincts, de- 
lights in high places, climbs to the tops of walls and houses, 
and leaps over the barriers intended to confine him. When 
kept in herds, individuals continually stray from the flock, 
and station themselves on the heights. In feeding, the flock 
gradually ascends to the higher grounds, preferring the 
shrubs and aromatic plants of the mountains to the richer 
herbage of the plains. Goats will eat of many bitter and 
narcotic plants which other animals reject, nay, of some 
which are deemed poisonous, as the hemlock and foxglove. 
They gnaw the bark, and crop the tender shoots, of shrubs 



and trees ; and hence they are the pest of the cultivated 
country, destroying the hedges, the woods, and orchards of 
the planter. In the countries of the vine, they are regarded 
as enemies whose trespasses must be curbed by the severest 
means. When mingled in the flock with Sheep, the Goats 
invariably assume the guidance of their more timorous com- 
panions, leading them from the richer pastures to the more 
steril hills. When the Goat is kept apart from the flock, he 
becomes attached to his protectors, familiar and inquisitive, 
finding his way into every place, and examining whatever is 
new to him. He is eminently social, attaching himself to 
other animals, however different from himself. He is fre- 
quently kept in stables, under the belief that he contributes 
to the health of the horses. The effect, if any, is probably 
to be ascribed to his familiar habits, it being known that 
horses in their stalls are fond of companions to cheer their 
solitude. The Goat is frequently attached to the little car- 
riages of children, and appears to delight in the gay equipage, 
and capricious commands, of the youthful charioteers. Two 
children, in London, having escaped from their nurse, seated 
themselves in their tiny vehicle, and set off, whip in hand, 
along the Strand, The Goat, apparently enjoying the frolic, 
carried them full tilt through the most crowded parts of the 
city, nicely avoiding every obstacle, and foiling every attempt 
of the passengers to arrest him. Having satiated himself 
and his young masters with their morning's drive, he brought 
them back to their home in safety. 

The female of the Goat produces, in the natural state, in 
spring ; but when food is supplied to her, she will receive the 
male at almost any season. She goes with young upwards 
of twenty weeks, and is very prolific, generally producing 
two at a birth, and often breeding twice in the year. The 
Kids are exceedingly hardy, and the most sportive of animals. 
The mother watches them with tender care, protecting them 
from every assailant. She yields a large quantity of milk in 
proportion to her size, a common produce being two quarts in 



the day for five or six months. Her milk is viscid and nourish- 
ing, little productive of oil, but abundant in the matter of 
cheese. She allows herself to be milked without reluctance, 
and readily adopts other animals, and nurses them as if they 
were her own. When she has suckled such animals as the 
foal and the calf, it is interesting to observe how she attaches 
herself to them, and still watches over their safety, when 
their own habits cause them to separate themselves from her. 
In India, the children of the Hindoos, who have lost their 
parent, are frequently suckled by Goats. Travellers report 
that, in the countries of the Negroes, this is very frequent. 
The Goat comes to the cradle where the infants lie, and ma- 
nifests the utmost tenderness towards them ; nay, when they 
are able to walk and play, she does not forget her maternal 
cares, but follows them as if to keep them from harm. 

The Goat, besides the milk of the female, affords hair, 
which is shorn from the body, and made into certain coarse 
fabrics of the nature of camblets. Of this substance are 
formed the tents of the Arabs, of the Turcomans, and of all 
the migratory tribes of the Tartar countries. The hair of 
the Goat is likewise fabricated into ropes. With such ropes, 
the hardy natives of St Kilda used to swing themselves over 
the dreadful precipices of their coasts, in search of the eggs 
of sea-fowls. The skin of the Goat is made into leather, 
which is more useful and durable than that of Sheep. It 
forms the fine Morocco leather of commerce, and is largely 
used,, for sandals, boots, gaiters, and similar parts of dress. 
In the countries of the East, the skin is likewise made into 
bags, for containing water, wine, and oil ; and on many rivers, 
as the Nile and Euphrates, it is made into bags, for floating* 
the inhabitants across the stream. The skin of the kid is in 
universal demand for the manufacture of gloves. The flesh 
of the kid, when very young, is nearly as delicate as that of 
the lamb. The flesh of the older Goats is hard and ill- 
flavoured, and therefore always gives place to that of the 
Sheep, as countries become cultivated. 


In the British Islands, the number of Goats has been con- 
tinually diminishing, with the extension of sheep, and the 
progress of agriculture. In the Highlands of Scotland, they 
used to be very numerous, but are now confined to a few of 
the remoter districts, where their milk is employed for the 
making of cheese. Wales long abounded in Goats : they are 
now in small and decreasing numbers, and the finer and 
larger kinds have been lost. But in Ireland, there are still 
great numbers of Goats, scattered throughout the country, 
and kept by the poorer inhabitants for supplying them with 
milk. The Goats of Ireland are many of them very fine : those 
of Kerry and the other mountain districts, resemble the best 
Goats of the Mediterranean, and even exceed them in size. 

In this country, it is chiefly for the supply of the domestic 
dairy that the Goat can be regarded as of economical value. 
This arises from the want of demand for the flesh, even for 
that of the kid, which is so delicate. Were it otherwise, the 
Goat could be cultivated in the mountainous parts of the 
country with perhaps greater advantage than the Sheep. 
The hair of the Goat is indeed less valuable than wool, yet 
the skin is of greater value than that of the Sheep. The 
animals, too, are more hardy, and exempt from those fatal 
diseases which yearly destroy so great a proportion of the 
Sheep of the higher countries. The Goat, too, is more easily 
maintained, especially in countries of heath, and the females 
are more prolific. But an insurmountable objection exists to 
the extension of the husbandry of the Goat, from the want of 
all demand for the flesh of the fattened animal. Yet if the 
caprice of taste could be reconciled to the use of the kid, the 
Goat could be kept for the rearing of her young as a substi- 
tute for the house-lambs, now produced at so much cost. 
The females, in this case, could be made to yield their kids at 
any season. They could be kept in houses and fed on the 
commonest hay, with occasional portions of turnips or green 
food of any kind. They could be maintained at less expense 
than the Sheep ; and as they are more prolific, and yield a 



large supply of milk after the kids are taken away, the profit 
would certainly be greater than from the ewe under the same 
circumstances. But as the hahits of a people, with respect to 
food, cannot without great difficulty be changed, it is probable 
that, in these Islands, the Goat will continue to be only par- 
tially cultivated, as now, for the milk of the female. But for 
this purpose its value, as a source of household economy, is 
much greater than many imagine. Families who keep a 
single cow would find a Goat or two always useful, as sup- 
plying milk when that of the other was wanting ; and expe- 
rience shews, that the humbler cottagers would derive a profit 
from having one or two of these animals, which could be 
maintained on food which the cow would reject. Persons 
even in large towns could, by means of the Goat, readily sup- 
ply themselves with milk far superior to that which they can 
now obtain ; and it is surprising that a method so simple, of 
avoiding the frauds too much practised in the case of this 
kind of food, should be neglected. Goats bear well the 
motion and confinement of shipboard, and are better fitted 
for supplying milk on sea-voyages than any other animal. 



The OVINE FAMILY, it has been seen, differs so little in 
conformation from the Caprine, that zoological characters can 
scarcely be found to discriminate them. Yet, in every coun- 
try where these animals are known, they are separated in 
popular language, shewing that each possesses habitudes 
and external characters sufficient to distinguish it from the 
other. Sheep have the bodies more massive, and deviate 
more from the Antelopian type, than Goats ; the horns, where 
they exist, are generally more angular, furrowed, and spiral ; 
and the rams are destitute of the hircine odour. Of the spe- 


cies of true Sheep which have been found in the state of na- 
ture, those most generally admitted into zoological systems 
are : 

1. Ovis AMMON, the Argali of Asia. 

2. Ovis MONTANA, the Rocky-Mountain Sheep. 

3. Ovis TRAGELAPHUS, the Bearded Argali. 

4. Ovis MUSIMON, the Musmon. 

The ARGALI of ASIA is somewhat less than the size of a stag. 
He has enormous horns, measuring about a foot in circum- 
ference at the base, and from three to four feet in length, 
triangular, rising from the summit of the head so as nearly 
to touch at the root, ascending, stretching out laterally, and 
bending forward at the point. He has a fur of short hair, 
covering a coat of soft white wool. The colour of the fur 
externally is brown, becoming brownish-gray in winter : there 
is a buff-coloured streak along the back, and a large spot of 
a lighter buff colour pn the haunch, surrounding and in- 
cluding the tail. The female differs from the male in being 
smaller, in having the horns more slender and straight, and 
in the absence of the disc on the haunch. In both sexes the 
tail is very short, the eye-lashes are whitish, and the hair 
beneath the throat is longer than on other parts of the body. 

These creatures inhabit the mountains and elevated plains 
of Asia, from the Himmalaya Mountains westward to the 
Caucasus, and eastward and northward to Kamschatka and 
the Ocean. They are agile and strong, but very timid, shun- 
ning the least appearance of danger : their motion is zigzag, 
and they stop in their course to gaze upon their pursuer, after 
the manner of the domestic Sheep. They are usually found 
in very small flocks ; and, at the rutting season, the males 
fight desperately, using their horns and forehead in the man- 
ner of the common ram. They are hunted by the people of 
the countries for their flesh, which is esteemed to be savoury, 
and for their skins, which are made into clothing. In autumn, 
after having pastured during the summer on the mountains 


and secluded valleys, they are fat, and in request ; but as 
winter advances, and they are forced to descend from the 
mountains in search of food, they lose their plumpness, and 
are sought after only for their skins. When taken young 
they are easily tamed, but the old ones never resign their 
natural wildness. 

The ROCKY-MOUNTAIN SHEEP, or Argali of America, is 
allied to this species, or identical with it. It inhabits the 
loftiest mountain chains of North America. It was long 
ago described by Spanish writers as the Sheep of California, 
and is familiar to the Indians and fur-traders of Canada. 
It equals or surpasses the Asiatic' Argali in size, and is taller 
than the largest of our Domestic Sheep. Its horns are very 
large, approaching, but not touching, one another at the base. 
The horns of the female are small, and slightly curved. The 
fur is of a reddish-brown colour, but becomes paler in winter, 
and in spring the old rams are nearly white. The face and 
nose are white, and the tail and buttocks present the buff- 
coloured disc which distinguishes the male of the Asiatic 
species. They collect in flocks, under the guidance of a 
leader. They pasture on the steepest parts of the moun- 
tains, and on the approach of winter descend into the plains. 
They are wild and timid, betaking themselves on the least 
alarm to the summits of the mountains. They are pursued 
and killed by the Indians for their flesh and skins, and have 
never been subjected to domestication. 

The BEARDED ARGALI inhabits the inland steeps of Barbary 
and the mountains of Egypt. It is larger than a fallow deer, 
and nearly equal in size to a stag. The horns are thirteen 
inches in circumference at the base, approaching near to one 
another on the top of the head, angular, black, bending back- 
wards and downwards, and about two feet in length. The 
hair on the lower part of the cheeks and under-jaw is long, 
forming a divided beard. The under part of the neck and 
shoulders is covered by coarse hair ; on the upper part of the 
neck, and especially at the withers, the hair is long and 


bristly, forming a mane ; the knees are covered by long 
dense hairs, as if to protect them when the animal kneels ; 
the hair on the rest of the body is short, and underneath the 
whole is the rudiment of a soft fine wool. It is a gentle and 
petulant creature, fond of ascending to high places, as the 
roofs of houses, capable of running swiftly, and of bounding 
with prodigious force. 

The MUSMON inhabits the lofty regions of the Caucasus 
and ancient Taurus, and still lingers in the islands of Crete 
and Cyprus, and the mountains of Greece. It is smaller than 
the Argali. In the male the horns are two feet in length ; 
in the female they are often wanting. They are very thick, 
and they turn inward at the points, in which respect they 
differ from the horns of the Argali, which bend outward. 
The fur consists of a brownish hair, concealing a short, fine, 
gray-coloured wool, which covers all the body. 

The Musmons, although resembling the Argalis, are small- 
er and less powerful, and inhabit, apparently, a lower range 
of mountains. They are gregarious, assembling in large 
flocks during the summer months ; but, at the rutting season, 
fierce contests take place between the rams, and the herd 
divides into smaller bands, consisting of a male and several 
females. These animals are readily domesticated, and exhi- 
bit all the habits of the Domestic Sheep, although, in the first 
generation at least, they do not entirely resign their natural 
wildness. They breed freely with the Domestic Sheep, and 
the offspring is fruitful. Pliny mentions such alliances as be- 
ing common, and states that the progeny were termed Umbri. 

A species, or variety, termed by M. G. St Hilaire, Mou- 
flon d'Afrique, appears to resemble the Musmon of Asia 
and Europe. It has been found on the mountains bordering 
upon the plain of the Nile. It is about the size of a com- 
mon ram. The horns are two feet long, and eleven inches 
in circumference at the base, diverging outwards, so that the 
extremities are about nineteen inches from one another. 

Another species of Musmon, or an animal nearly allied to 

26 THE 311JSK1'. 

it, has been found in Nepaul, both on the Indian and Thibe- 
tian sides of the snowy crests of the Himmalayas. It is de- 
scribed as having horns twenty-two inches along the curve, 
diverging greatly, but scarcely spiral ; and as having fur of 
a bluish-gray colour inclining to red, the hairs concealing a 
scanty fleece of fine soft wool.* 

These are the wild species of Ovidse which have as yet been 
described. But there is just reason to believe that others 
exist, although as yet too imperfectly known to be placed in 
the catalogues of naturalists. It is certain that Wild Sheep, 
approaching even more to the characters of certain domesti- 
cated races, exist in the immense countries bordering on the 
Hindoo Koosh, namely, Caubul, and the countries of the Tur- 
comans, Persians, and others, towards the Caspian. One of 
these is described by Mr Fraser, in his interesting travels in 
these wild countries, as having been killed by the hunters of 
his party, and as being a fine animal, equal in size, and supe- 
rior in strength, to the largest of the common races. It pro- 
bably resembles a race of Sheep widely domesticated in the 
same countries, which has by some been termed the Persian 
breed, but which is to be distinguished from another race, to 
be afterwards referred to, found in the same country, and 
likewise termed Persian. The Sheep in question are covered 
with a very coarse hairy fur of a gray colour. Their horns .are 
bent outward in the manner of the Argali, and, what is worthy 
of note, the head entirely resembles that of the Ram, as it is 
depicted on Eastern sculptures. This domesticated race is 
very widely diffused, extending to the Tartar countries inland ; 
to Arabia, where it forms the most common breed of the Be- 
douins ; and across the Indus over a great part of Hindostan. 

Ancient writers, too, speak of Wild Sheep, but with notices 
so indistinct, that no conclusions can be founded upon them. 
It is not certainly known whether Wild Sheep existed in the 
west of Europe. Boetius, a chronicler extremely credulous, 

* Proceedings of the Zoological Society, and the Asiatic Transactions. 


yet worthy of trust as to what he says he heard or saw, 
mentions the existence of a race of Wild Sheep in the deso- 
late island of St Kilda. He describes them as being larger 
than the largest goats, and as having tails hanging to the 
ground, and horns more bulky than those of the ox ; and, ac- 
cording to Mr Pennant, an animal corresponding with this 
description is figured on a bas-relief taken from the wall of 
Antoninus, near the modern city of Glasgow. 

Looking at the vast diversities in the Sheep of different 
and distant countries, and the constancy with which certain 
races preserve their distinctive characters under the same 
conditions of temperature, food, and treatment, we are 
conducted to the conclusion, that Wild Sheep proper to 
different countries have been domesticated by the inhabi- 
tants ; and, accordingly, that the domesticated races are 
not of one, but of various species, having the property of 
procreating with one another in the reclaimed state. The 
same hypothesis, we have seen, has been applied to the Goat, 
there being no other which satisfactorily explains the per- 
manent differences which races of those animals exhibit 
under the same conditions from age to age. A like suppo- 
sition, we shall see in the sequel, must be made in the case 
of the Dog, in order to enable us to account for those great 
variations which the domesticated races present in almost 
every country. The opinion, w r e shall see, that may most 
reasonably be entertained regarding the origin of the Do- 
mestic Dogs, is, that they are descended from the Wolf and 
other Canidse yet found in the wild state ; and there is no 
more difficulty in assuming the derivation of the Sheep than 
of the Dog from species yet existing in the state of nature, 
since the habits and forms of the Argalis and Musmons as 
nearly resemble the cultivated Sheep as the Wolf and other 
species of Canis resemble the common breeds of Dogs. Even 
the blood of the Goat, though of a species admitted, under 
every zoological system, to be distinct, has certainly been 


mixed with that of the Sheep of various countries. Sheep 
and Goats, indeed, when left free to select their own mates, 
do not breed together, but the union is readily produced 
when the males of one species only are present at the rutting 
season ; and it has been long known to shepherds, though 
questioned by naturalists, that the resulting progeny is fruit- 
ful. Breeds of this mixed race are numerous in the north 
of Europe, and can scarcely have failed to take place in every 
country where Sheep and Goats are herded together. 

We may believe, then, that the Domesticated Sheep, the 
Ovis ARIES of naturalists, is a factitious species, and not one 
which has been called forth in the natural state. A species 
of this kind, however, having been formed, by whatever mix- 
tures of blood, the members of it must have been subject, like 
every other family mixed or pure, to vary under the influence 
of external agencies ; and thus, independently of the differ- 
ences produced by differences of origin, there are those which 
have been produced by climate, food, and domestication, giv- 
ing rise to those great varieties which, even under the nar- 
rowest geographical limits, present themselves. 

From whatever sources derived, these valuable animals, 
we know, have been subjected to servitude from the earliest 
times. The most ancient written records of the Southern 
Asiatics refer to the Domesticated Sheep ; and he is figured 
on the oldest monuments of the past, which time has left us, 
in Western Asia. On the sculptured remains of Egypt, 
the Sheep continually appears, and of a form which we can 
identify with that of the same animal still existing. The 
Sacred Writings record its existence along with the first 
known inhabitants of the earth ; and the flocks and herds of 
the wandering Shepherds of the East, are described with a 
minuteness, which enables us to compare the pursuits of the 
most ancient people with those of the inhabitants of the same 
countries at the present hour. Scarcely any thing seems to 
have changed in the habits of men in those countries of pas- 


toral tribes. Where Abraham pitched his tent, with his 
" sheep and oxen,'' and " asses and camels," where he sat 
at the door of his tent, where the stone was rolled from the 
wells from which his maidens drew water, there the Arab 
or the wandering Turcoman encamps, and all the scene is 
like a vivid panorama of the past. In the case of the present 
people of the Desert, their tents, their journeyings, their 
household cares, their flocks, their camels, their wells, all 
inform us with what a matchless fidelity the Sacred History 
has been told. 

Of the Sheep, we learn that its fleece was used by the 
Shepherds of Syria for the purposes to which it is now ap- 
plied, and that it was shorn from the skin, " Then Jacob 
rose up and set his sons and his wives upon camels ; and he 
carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had 
gotten, the cattle of his getting which he had got in Padan- 
aram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan : 
And Laban went to shear his sheep." * " And Judah was 
comforted, and went up unto his sheep-shearers at Zim- 
nath."t And at a long subsequent period, when the de- 
scendants of Judah had become a nation, and acquired the 
Land of Promise, the season of sheep- shearing is referred to 
as one of rustic labour. Further the wool was woven into 
cloth, which infers an advancement beyond the ruder stages 
of the arts. The mere barbarian uses, for raiment, the skin 
of the Sheep or Goat, with its covering of hair, as was prac- 
tised by the Scythians, by the Gauls and Britons, and at the 
present day by the Kalmuks and other nomadic people of 
Asia, and by the Hottentots and other inhabitants of Southern 
Africa. When cloth is made by barbarous tribes, it is simply 
by pressing the wool together in a moist state, so as to form 
felt, as we yet see done in the case of hats and beavers ; by 

* Genesis, xxxi. 17, 18, 19 : And it is worthy of note, that the undergoing 
of a period of servitude to acquire a wife, recorded in the history to which 
these passages refer, exists at the present day amongst a wild trihe in the heart 
of India, which is designated by the term Laban-a. 

t Genesis, xxxviii. 12. 


which means the fibres adhere, and become intertwined in 
such a manner as to form a species of cloth ; and of this 
simple manufacture were the woollen garments of the rude 
people in the north of Asia and Europe. The use of the dis- 
taif and the shuttle infers a considerable advancement in the 
arts. Yet at this stage, we know, by indubitable records, 
the wandering tribes of Syria had arrived, long ere the golden 
fleece had been acquired by Jason, or ere Minerva had com- 
municated to her Athenians the gifts of spinning and weaving. 
And besides the spindle and the simple loom of the East, the 
Syrian Shepherds had, from early times, acquired the know- 
ledge of the art of communicating to their cloths and gar- 
ments those beautiful colours which so much please the eye. 
The fondness of a parent, and his gift of a many-coloured 
garment to a favoured child, gave rise to a tale which, in 
beauty and pathos, cannot be surpassed; and even yet, 
amongst the people of India, the practice exists of giving to 
a favourite boy a garment of many colours, as a charm 
against evil. The flesh of the Sheep was likewise used, but 
with that temperance which still distinguishes the people of 
those countries in the use of animal food. It was from the 
milk of their flocks that they derived the chief part of their 
daily food. They understood the art of curdling the milk of 
their goats and ewes ; and cheese and butter, with fat and 
honey, formed the simple repasts of these early shepherds, 
as of the Kurds, the Turcomans, and Arabs, of the present 

Domestication renders the Sheep more suited to our uses, 
but diminishes his physical powers, and adapts him to another 
condition of life. When once completely subjugated, he never 
again appears to acquire the faculties which fit him for a life 
of liberty. Give him afterwards what freedom we may, he 
remains more or less dependent upon us, and would fall a 
prey to wolves, and the swifter ferse, were he not under 
human protection. Yet he is not the stupid and insensible 
creature which some represent him to be. When entirely 


subdued, indeed, his natural instincts are blunted, and he 
loses the providence and sense of danger which are natural 
to him ; but when left in a state of comparative liberty, as on 
the mountains of Scotland and Wales, he shews that, though 
comparatively feeble, he is not without the power of guard- 
ing himself from danger. When attacked by dogs or foxes, 
the flock forms a circle, with the rams in front, presenting a 
face to the enemy. The rams rush forward on the assailant, 
and strike him with their powerful horns ; and in their con- 
tests with one another for the possession of the females, they 
fight with amazing determination, stunning one another with 
the violence of the shocks. The Sheep is an exceedingly hardy 
animal with respect to temperature, his close covering of wool 
defending him well from cold. He foresees an impending fall 
of snow, and takes shelter from its violence. When buried 
underneath the snow, as he sometimes is, he often survives 
for many days, and even weeks, and may be digged up with- 
out injury, provided he have escaped suffocation ; for in such* 
a situation, his thick fleece, which, as well as the snow, is a 
slow conductor of heat, retains the natural warmth of the body 
in such a degree as to preserve life. The ewe bears that affec- 
tion to her offspring which Nature has imprinted, as it were, 
on the heart of every animal. Should mishap befal her young 
one, she mourns over it, and will not be comforted: should it 
wander from her side, her anxious bleatings are everywhere 
heard ; and the little creature rewards her cares with surpris- 
ing fondness. Who that has seen shearing of the flock, has not 
marked the startled aspect of the lamb when the mother first 
runs toward it divested of her covering, and how quickly it is 
reassured, and how sensibly it expresses its joy. when it hears 
the well-known voice, and receives the wonted caresses ! The 
Sheep appears insensible and stupid, because it is rarely at- 
tached to us by acts of familiarity and kindness. But let the 
orphan lamb be brought up at the shepherd's cot, and fed 
from his hand, and we shall find it to be nearly as fami- 
liar as a dog, fond of being caressed, and unwilling to leave 


its protector to join its fellows of the flock. In countries 
where the shepherd guides his flock, and does not herd it by 
dogs in the manner practised in other places, the docility 
which the animals acquire is wonderfully great. Where the 
shepherd leads they follow ; they observe his motions and 
hear his voice, and when he uses a pipe or horn, they listen 
to the well-known sound, and obey the signal. In the Alps 
of Switzerland^ and in the mountainous parts of Italy, in 
Greece, and elsewhere, we are yet charmed with this rem- 
nant of pastoral simplicity and innocence. The shepherd 
boy knows all his little favourites, he remembers their 
names, and, when called, they leave the flock and come to 
him. When the numbers are great, he selects a few, teaches 
them their simple lesson, and they become the guides of the 
rest to their allotted pastures, and learn to collect the wan- 
derers. The music of the mountain shepherd we find to be 
no poetic fiction. In the mountains of the South, we yet 
hear the soft and artless tones of his pipe. In the morning 
he leads forth his little flock, and plays as he marches at their 
head, and at sunset returns in like manner to the fold, where 
he pens them, that they may be kept from the wolves. 

The fur of the Sheep consists partly of hair, but essentially 
of w r ool. In cold, moist.) and elevated countries, the hair 
often becomes so long as to cover the wool ; and when the 
wool falls off in the early part of summer, the covering of 
hair remains to protect the animal. In warm countries, the 
wool is often scarcely developed, and nearly the whole coat 
is of hair, just as in the case of the Deer, the Antelope, and 
the Goat ; yet this is not always the case, even in the warmer 
countries, in which the fur is sometimes fleecy, soft, and thin. 
Often the wool is long, and the filaments thick, without being 
hairy, as in the case of the Sheep of the richer plains of Eng- 
land ; sometimes it is short, fine, and curling, as in the case 
of the Mountain Sheep of Spain. We can sometimes trace 
the influence of climate in modifying the characters of wool, 
but often it is affected by causes which we are unable to dis- 


cover. It is often affected by domestication and artificial 
treatment. The difference in the character of wool renders 
it more or less valuable, and more or less suited to different 
manufactures. Thus, the long thick wool of the Sheep of the 
plains of England is suited to the manufacture of flannels ; 
that of the South Down, Ry eland, and Merino breeds, to the 
fabrication of cloths ; that of the Blackfaced Heath Sheep of 
Scotland, to the making of carpets and coarser stuffs. The 
colour of the wool of Sheep is yet less dependent upon any 
known causes than its texture, length, or fineness. Some- 
times it is black, sometimes it is gray, sometimes it is brown, 
and in other cases it is white, or partly black and partly 
white. We know no law which determines these colours. 
There is reason to believe that the colour of the fleece in the 
earlier Sheep tended to the darker colours rather than to the 
lighter, as it yet does in Sheep that are left long in their 
natural state. But the white colour came to be more valued, 
as being more agreeable to the eye, but chiefly because white 
wool is better fitted to receive those bright and beautiful 
colours which we are enabled to communicate by the dyeing 
process. But the desire to obtain white wool being formed, 
it was easy to procure white Sheep, by using males and 
females for breeding which were possessed of that colour. 

With respect to the races of Sheep which have been domes- 
ticated in different countries, a diversity so great is presented 
in the form and size of the animals, nature of the fleece, and 
other characters, that nothing beyond the most general classi- 
fication can be made when we refer to Sheep extended over 
many and distant countries. 

Looking to Asia, which may be considered as the cradle of 
the principal domesticated races, it may be said that there 
are two groups of cultivated Sheep, each, however, compre- 
hending innumerable breeds ; first, those with flat tails 
naked underneath ; and, secondly, those with long round 
tails covered with wool. The Flat- tailed races have a won- 
derfully wide range, extending from Caubul northwards to 



near the Arctic Circle, eastward through the boundless wilds 
of Chinese Tartary, and westward through Persia into Asia 
Minor and Syria. In the higher latitudes of Asia, the same 
character is retained ; but the Sheep themselves become di- 
minutive, and the tail is small, and carried upwards in the 
manner of the Goat. The small Sheep with this character 
have been regarded by naturalists as a variety or class, 
which has been termed Brevi-cauda. In the more tem- 
perate latitudes, the flat tail becomes long, and, in certain 
countries, is loaded with fat, so as to form a great part of 
the weight of the animal. This peculiarity is the most deve- 
loped in the Sheep of the countries of the Euphrates, in Asia 
Minor, Syria, and part of Arabia ; where, when the animals 
receive rich food, or are kept in pens and houses, the tail 
becomes of such large dimensions, that it trails upon the 
ground, so that it is frequently supported by little sledges to 
keep it from incommoding the animal. The Sheep having 
these broad fat tails are frequently designated the Syrian 
Breed, and are sometimes brought to England under the 
name of Turkish Sheep. Aristotle, Pliny, and others, refer 
to them ; and there is reason to believe, from certain no- 
tices in the Levitical laws, that they were the kind of Sheep 
cultivated by the ancient Jews. They are a very valuable 
race in the countries which produce them. The large tail, 
weighing sometimes of itself 40 or 50 lb., is greatly valued, 
and the fat is used along with other food as butter or oil. 
The ewes are prolific, producing twice in the year, and yield- 
ing a larger quantity of milk than any other known race of 

But towards the countries of the Caspian Sea, a remarkable 
deviation from this form occurs. The tail becomes short, or 
rudimental, and the fat accumulates on the haunches, form- 
ing two great cushions. This character is chiefly observed 
in the Sheep of the countries bordering on the Caspian, and 
the great saline lake of Aral, becoming less prominent as we 
recede from the immense basin which contains these seas, 


and ultimately disappearing. It has been conjectured that 
the character itself arises from the Sheep feeding on the bit- 
ter and saline plants found in these countries ; and it is said, 
that when they are removed from the places in which these 
plants grow, the fatty excrescence becomes less. It may 
justly be assumed, indeed, that this character is the result of 
peculiarities of food, although we cannot determine physiolo- 
gically in what manner the effect is produced. The Sheep 
in which this singular character appears have been regarded 
as a natural variety, and termed Steatopyga. 

The races of Sheep, again, having round tails covered with 
wool, are widely diffused over the Asiatic Continent. From 
this group of breeds the finest wool is produced, though, in 
the greater number of them, the wool is extremely coarse, 
and largely mixed with hairs. Some of them are of a large 
size, as in Thibet, where they are employed for carrying bur- 
dens. The Sheep of the Tartars may be referred in part to 
this group, and in part to the broad-tailed. The Tartar Sheep 
are remarkably strong and hardy, but, for the most part, of 
bad farmland covered with coarse wool. But when we speak 
of Tartary, or rather Tahtary, it is to be remembered that 
we use a vague term for a region which comprehends a great 
part of all Asia, and includes tribes and nations entirely 
distinct from one another in speech, customs, and country. 
The inhabitants, however, generally agree in this, that they 
are rude shepherds, subsisting on the produce of their flocks 
and herds, with which they migrate from place to place ; 
but their domesticated animals differ greatly with place, so 
that the Sheep of the Turcomans and other western Asiatics 
are distinct from those of the Kalmuks, Mantchoories, and 
others. Towards the Eastern Ocean, comprehending the 
fertile plains of China Proper, the Sheep, like the Horses of 
the same country, become of small size ; and the same re- 
mark applies to those which are found in the luxuriant Islands 
of the Eastern Archipelago. Hindostan contains races more 
diversified in size, form, and the character of the wool, than 


those of any other country of Asia of the same extent. The 
finest and largest are derived from Caubul and the other 
countries westward of the Indus ; towards the more arid re- 
gions of the south the Sheep become of diminutive size, and 
are in many cases covered with short hair, with scarcely the 
vestige of a fleece. Some of the Indian Sheep have very pe- 
culiar characters, as the Mysore Breed, the Piirek Breed, and 

Africa abounds in Sheep, as in Goats and all the ruminat- 
ing tribes. In the countries of the great Mediterranean 
basin, comprehending Barbary, from the Atlantic to the de- 
serts bordering on Egypt, the races are greatly varied. In 
many parts, chiefly in the Regency of Tunis, are found the 
Broad-tailed Syrian Sheep. Some are many-horned, having 
a coarse fleece. The more common Sheep of the Barbary 
States have long limbs, ungainly forms, and shaggy hair. 
They have been termed by naturalists the Long-legged Breed 
of Africa, which, however, rather indicates a character than 
a breed. They have a mixed fur, chiefly of hair ; but towards 
the great mountains inland are found races of Sheep entirely 
different, covered with a fine wool fitted for the most delicate 
fabrics of the loom. 

In Abyssinia and the countries of the Red Sea is found a 
race of Sheep differing entirely from any existing in Europe, 
and which, if we are to pay regard at all to external cha- 
racters in discriminating species, must be regarded as a dis- 
tinct species. These sheep are covered with short glossy 
hair, with scarcely the rudiment of a fleece. They have thick 
necks, with well -formed heads. The head, and part of the 
throat and neck, are black, and the rest of the body is pure 
white, without any tendency to the rufous colour characteris- 
tic of our common Sheep. They have short or rudimental 
tails, and are destitute of horns ; and the fat accumulates 
largely on the buttocks and inside of the thighs. This race is 
found in Arabia, and has been carried, by the countries of the 
Euphrates, into Persia, whence it has been sometimes erro- 


neously termed the Persian Breed, though in no degree pro- 
per to Persia. These Sheep thrive on the withered herbage 
of the countries they inhabit, and where the Sheep of Europe 
would perish. They are found in Madagascar, and along the 
south-eastern coast of Africa, together with the broad- tailed 

Of the races of the boundless countries of the interior of 
the African Continent we know scarcely any thing. Travel- 
lers, indeed, speak of Sheep as being numerous in the 
countries they have traversed, but they give us no characters 
by which the races can be discriminated. But in the rich 
and pestilential countries of the Negroes of the western 
coasts, the Sheep are better known to us. They are in great 
numbers, and of characters as distinct from those of Asia 
and Europe as other quadrupeds of the same countries. 
They are covered with short hair without any wool, and have 
tails like those of swine ; and some of them have singular 
enlargements on the cheek, throat, and sometimes on the 
forehead. They are familiar to the slave-traders, who'carry 
them away as sea-stock, along with their human victims. 
In the milder countries southward to the extremity of the 
Continent, there are large flocks of Sheep reared by such of 
the itomadic tribes as their own endless wars and the cruel 
avarice of European colonists have spared. The Hottentot 
Sheep are of slender forms, resembling foxes rather than 
Sheep, and having long tails on which the fat accumulates. 
They have been confounded with the broad-tailed Syrian 
race, from which they are distinct. They have been long 
available to the Indian voyagers as sea-stock ; but they are 
of delicate constitution, and frequently perish with the first 
gales on quitting the Cape of Storms. Few of them, how- 
ever, now exist in the pure state in the territory of the Cape, 
a mixed race having been formed by the Dutch and English 

Turning to Europe, we find the Sheep varying in every 
country, and, like the human inhabitants, exhibiting the most 


marked traces of a mixed descent. It has been questioned 
whether the pristine inhabitants of Europe possessed the 
domestic Sheep, and did not, like the wild tribes of the North 
American forests, live solely by the spoils of the chase. We 
cannot resolve this question, because we do not know who 
were the pristine inhabitants of Europe. But we have reason 
to believe, that the early Celtic and Teutonic nations were in 
possession of Sheep, which, indeed, they could hardly have 
failed to bring with them in their migrations westward, the 
Teutons from the countries north of the Black Sea and the 
Caspian, and the Celts from those other regions of the East 
where the Sheep had been cultivated from the first ages. 
Yet the greater part of Europe was long a great forest, un- 
favourable to the cultivation of Sheep ; and they are rarely 
mentioned by early chroniclers. It is a mistake, however, 
to contend, as some have done, that Sheep did not find their 
way into Western Europe until about the Christian era. 
Indisputable proofs to the contrary exist, as in Spain, which 
was long before this era inhabited by Sheep, and even in 
North Britain, where the remnants of the Celtic Sheep are 
still to be found, and where the early language of the people 
shews their familiarity with these animals. In the south of 
Europe, we may suppose that the Sheep of Asia were added 
to those of the pre-existing races. They may be believed 
to have found their way into Greece by the Hellespont, with 
the introduction of civilization and letters. The Sheep of 
Arcadia became at length the boast of Greece ; and innumer- 
able allusions in the writings of her poets, historians, and 
philosophers, shew us in what estimation this gift cf the Gods 
was held. Italy likewise possessed her Sheep from an un- 
known period ; but the inhabitants, even up to a period com- 
paratively recent, seem to have directed their attention to the 
Goat more than to the Sheep. Long after Rome was founded, 
the inhabitants had not learned to shear the fleece ; and, 
until the time of Pliny, the practice of plucking it from the 
skin was not wholly abandoned, so long had the humble shep- 


herds of Syria preceded, in their knowledge of necessary arts, 
the future conquerors of their country. 

In the highest latitudes of Europe are found the short- 
tailed Sheep of Northern Asia, which had even found their 
way from Scandinavia to the most northerly of the British 
Islands, where they still exist. In certain countries, too, of 
the north of Europe, are found Polycerate Sheep ; hut the 
greater part of the Sheep of Europe are of the common long- 
tailed varieties, though manifestly derived from different 
sources. For the most part, the Sheep of the richer countries 
are larger than those of the poorer ; but this is not without 
exception, since, in fertile countries, are found races of Sheep, 
which, amidst the most abundant herbage, remain diminutive 
in size. 

In European Turkey and Greece, the Sheep do not now 
correspond with their ancient fame. They are of small size 
and indifferent form. They are often of the broad-tailed race 
of Asia Minor ; and some of them have the horns twisted like 
certain Antelopes, forming the race designated Strepsiceros, 
and sometimes termed the Cretan breed. In the Islands of 
the Archipelago few Sheep are reared. Some of them are of 
the Cretan, some of the Syrian breed, and some of them are 

Ascending the Danube, the Sheep are found to be of the 
long- tailed varieties, with more or less of the characters of 
the Cretan race. The breed of Wallachia may be regarded 
as the type of the races which extend through Moldavia, 
Transylvania, and westwards towards Vienna. They have 
black faces, and long wiry wool, much mixed with hair. 

Italy, once so renowned for her Sheep, can now boast 
. little . of this production of her bounteous clime. The Ro- 
mans, whose dress was woollen, cultivated in an especial 
degree the fineness of the fleece ; and it was not until the 
days of the Empire that the silk and cotton of the East be- 
gan to supersede the ancient raiment of the Roman people. 
The finest wools of ancient Italy were produced in Apulia 


and Calabria, being the eastern parts of the present kingdom 
of Naples. Pliny informs us that the best wool was that of 
Apulia, on the Adriatic Sea ; that the next best was further 
to the south, on the Gulf of Tarentum ; that the Milesian or 
Asiatic Sheep carried the third prize ; and that, for white- 
ness, there was none better than that produced on the Po. 
The care of the Romans in causing the wool to grow fine, 
exceeded, in the case of certain breeds, any thing that is 
now attempted. The sheep were kept in houses, and con- 
tinually clothed, so that the filaments of the wool might be- 
come delicate : the skin was smeared with fine oil, and mois- 
tened with wine ; the fleece was combed, so that the wool 
might not become matted ; and the whole was washed seve- 
ral times in the year. Under this artificial treatment the 
breed became tender, subject to diseases, voracious of food, 
and the females so incapable of nourishing their young, 
that many of the lambs were obliged to be destroyed. The 
Apulian and Tarentine breeds probably ceased to exist even 
before the fall of the Empire, or were swept away by barbar- 
ous conquerors, with all the arts of the lovely land. There 
are still in Italy many fine-woolled Sheep, but of small bad 
form, and ruined by neglect. The same remark applies to 
the Sheep of Sicily, which were greatly celebrated for the 
fineness of their wool, and which have not yet lost this an- 
cient character. 

Of all the countries of Europe, Spain has been the longest 
distinguished for its Sheep. This fine country, more varied 
in its surface and natural productions than any other region 
of the like extent in Europe, produces a great variety of 
breeds, from the larger animals of the richer plains, to the 
smaller races of the higher mountains and arid country. 
Besides the difference produced in the Sheep of Spain by 
varieties of climate and natural productions, the diversity of 
character in the animals may be supposed to have been in- 
creased by the different races introduced into it, 1st, from 
Asia, by the early Phoenician colonies ; 2d, from Africa, by 

WOOL. 41 

the Carthaginians, during their brief possession ; 3c?, from 
Italy, by the Romans, during their dominion of several hun- 
dred years ; and 4M, again from Africa, by the Moors, who 
maintained a footing in the country for nearly eight centuries. 
The larger Sheep of the plains have long wool, often coloured 
brown or black. The Sheep of the mountains, downs, and 
arid plains, have short wool, of different degrees of fineness, 
and different colours. The most important of 'these latter 
races is the Merino, now the most esteemed and widely dif- 
fused of all the fine-woolled breeds of Europe. 

In the British Islands the races of Sheep present extraor- 
dinary diversities of size, form, and other characters, caused, 
it may be believed, in part, by a difference of descent, in part 
by the long-continued influence of climate, food, and other 
agencies, and in part by the effects of breeding and artificial 
treatment. But before describing the breeds proper to, or 
naturalized in, these Islands, it will be well to direct atten- 
tion to the nature of Wool, which forms an important pro- 
duction of the Sheep in all countries. 


The Hair of animals, of which Wool is a variety, springs 
from the cellular tissue, immediately underneath the corion 
or true skin. It grows from a soft pulp included in a little 
sac, into which nerves and bloodvessels pass from the sur- 
rounding tissue. It extends outwards, passing through the 
true skin and epidermis in the form of a fine cylinder. It pos- 
sesses externally a scaly texture, the laminae pointing in one 
direction from the root to the tip, and is protected by an 
unctuous secretion. Wool is chiefly distinguished from hair 
by its growing in a spiral form, by its greater softness and 
pliability,. and by a property to be referred to, by which the 
separate filaments adhere under the influence of moisture 
and pressure. On account of these properties, wool is 


greatly better suited than hair for being spun and woven 
into cloth. 

Hair is often largely mixed with the wool of Sheep, and, 
in the wilder races, forms the principal part of the animal's 
covering. By frequent shearing of the fleece, the hair di- 
minishes in quantity, and the wool is proportionally de- 
veloped, until at length, under the influence of continued 
domestication, the essential covering of the animal becomes 
wool, of greater or less tenuity and softness. In the culti- 
vated Sheep of England, hair covers only the face and part 
of the limbs, but often hairs are mixed with the wool of 
other parts of the body ; and this, as it regards the manu- 
facture, is an imperfection, and it is a process of art to 
separate the intermixed hairs from the wool. 

Generally speaking, the wool of Sheep in these latitudes 
is yearly renewed, the older part falling off at the com- 
mencement of the warmer season, and it is then that we 
anticipate the process of nature by shearing the fleece. But 
the wool may be shorn at any time, and, like hair, will grow 
again. In this country, however, it is never thought bene- 
ficial to shear the wool more than once in the year, and this 
at the commencement of the warmer season, when the older 
portion is about to fall off. In certain parts of this country, 
favourable with respect to the mildness of the climate, the 
wool of lambs is shorn ; but the practice is unsuited to a 
cold climate, and is only, therefore, very partially pursued. 
The wool of lambs employed in the manufactures of this 
country is chiefly derived from the skins of animals that 
have been killed for the butcher, though largely, also, from 
the importation of the skins of lambs with the wool from 
other countries. 

The wool of different races or families of Sheep is greatly 
distinguished by the length of the staple and the tenuity and 
softness of the filaments. And not only does the wool of 
different Sheep differ in these properties, but the wool of 
the same individual is more or less soft and fine, according 

WOOL. 43 

to the parts of the body from which it is derived. In gene- 
ral, the wool becomes less fine, proceeding from the neck 
towards the extremities, so that the wool on the breech is 
more coarse than that on the back and sides. It is a pro- 
cess of art to separate the finer from the coarser parts in an 
individual fleece, and this into such number of divisions as 
suits the nature of the wool, or the manufacture intended. 
The number of these divisions varies from six to ten, or, in 
many cases, to a greater number. The fleece being un- 
rolled, the workman at his table, with a clear light thrown 
upon him, and guided by the eye and touch, culls out the 
several locks, as distinguished by the fineness of the fila- 
ments. These being put into baskets placed around him, 
are afterwards collected into distinct packages ; and thus the 
manufacturer is supplied with wool of the peculiar quality 
required. This operation is sometimes performed under the 
direction of the manufacturers themselves, but more com- 
monly by a class of persons termed wool- staplers, who pur- 
chase the raw material from the grower, and dispose of it 
after being assorted to the manufacturer. The operative 
part of the process is one of great nicety, to which men are 
trained, as to the other mechanical arts, by a regular ap- 

Wool is eminently suited to the reception of colours by 
the dyeing process, excelling in this respect silk, and much 
more cotton, and all other vegetable substances. White 
wool receives the colouring matter more readily than black, 
the finer parts of the fleece more readily than the coarser, 
and the wool of healthy Sheep more readily than that of 
those which are unhealthy. The natural colour of wool is 
often black, and black filaments are frequently mixed with 
the white. The intermixture is regarded as a great defect, 
the black filaments being unsuited for the reception of the 
brighter and more delicate colours in dyeing. The inter- 
mixture of black wool with white is most apt to take place 

* Remarks by the Author on Wool, aliunde. 


in the case of the breeds of Sheep whose legs and faces are 
covered with dark hair. 

The kinds of wool, as distinguished from one another by 
the length of the staple, are termed Long and Short. In this 
country the long wools are the produce of the larger Sheep of 
the plains, and possess a staple of seven inches and upwards. 
The short wools ai;e the produce of the smaller Sheep of the 
mountains, dow r ns, and generally of the drier or less fertile 
country, and have wool of a staple from two to four inches. 

Wool is prepared for being spun into thread by two pro- 
cesses entirely different in the effect and mode of execution : 
the first is termed Combing, and prepares the wool for being 
spun into worsted yarn, which is the kind of thread employed 
for the stuffs called worsteds ; the second is termed Carding, 
and prepares the material for being spun into woollen yarn, 
which is the kind of thread suited for the manufacture of 
woollen cloths. 

In combing, the process consists in dividing the wool by 
means of fine steel teeth, acting in the manner of the com- 
mon comb on knotted or entangled hair. The comb is kept 
hot, and the wool is oiled, in order that it may pass more 
easily between the teeth of the comb. In this manner, the 
filaments are smoothed and arranged side by side, some- 
what in the manner in which the fibres of hemp and flax are 
assorted for spinning, and being then drawn out to the de- 
gree of tenuity required, are twisted or spun, forming worsted 
yarn. The tenuity given to these threads is of every degree, 
suited to the various kinds of manufacture, from the thickest 
and stoutest substances, to the most delicate articles of 
clothing and dress. The fineness to which woollen threads 
can be spun almost exceeds belief. It has been computed 
that, in ordinary spinning at Norwich, a pound of wool may 
be extended to 13,440 yards, or in superfine spinning, to 
37,200 yards, or about 22 miles, so that a fleece yielding 
7 lb. would produce a thread of 155 miles in length: and 
even this degree of fineness can be exceeded. The exporta- 

WOOL. 45 

tion of worsted yarn was formerly prohibited by law ; it is 
now permitted, and forms an increasing and profitable branch 
of trade. 

The preparation of wool by carding, for the manufacture 
of woollen cloth, is performed in an entirely different manner. 
In this process, the filaments are not kept entire and laid 
parallel to one another in the direction of the thread to be 
spun ; but they are torn and broken into innumerable minute 
fragments, and then mingled together in every direction. By 
the spiral growth of wool, as distingushed from that of hair, 
each filament, or portion of a filament, is curled at its ex- 
tremity, and the broken or divided parts tend to hook them- 
selves to one another, so that, when a portion of wool is 
forcibly broken into pieces, the fragments remain loosely 
adherent, and may then be twisted or spun. The operation 
of breaking the wool by means of the card is performed by 
machinery ; but the principle of the process will be under- 
stood from the following explanation : 

Let there be supposed to be a board with a handle attached, 
and that in this board is fixed a great number of crooked 
wires, all bent in one direction. These wires are then par- 
tially filled with wool. Another board with the same kind of 
wires or teeth is then pulled in such a manner as that its 
teeth shall pass through amongst those of the other board. 
By the repeated action of these two cards, the wool is broken 
into minute fragments, which, from the curling property of 
the wool referred to, hook themselves together, and are 
formed into long rolls or cardings, which, being drawn out 
and twisted, form the thread. 

This peculiar mode of forming the thread of woollen yarn 
has relation to the kind of fabric to be formed, namely, 
woollen cloth, which is a substance of a dense and close tex- 
ture ; while the fabrics formed of worsted thread are of a 
lighter and looser texture. The denser consistence is given 
to the woollen cloth by means of the property termed Felting. 

The property of felting consists in a tendency of the fila- 


merits of wool to unite or adhere when moistened and com- 
pressed. By compression in the moist state, a mass of wool 
becomes a dense body, as we see in the case of hats or beavers, 
which are formed of the wool and down of animals subjected 
to pressure and moisture. Nay, by this process alone, with- 
out the intervention of spinning or weaving, cloth can be 
formed. Thus, in ancient times, and among certain people of 
the East at the present day, caps, mantles, blankets, carpets, 
and the covering of tents, are formed by felting alone. In 
England, recent experiments have shewn, that tolerably good 
cloths, both with respect to durability and fineness, may be 
formed by this means. The property appears to depend on 
the form of the filaments before referred to. -Each filament 
is seen to be notched all round with minute serrations, formed 
by fine sharp laminse, proceeding from the pile like the leaves 
of an artichoke, all pointing in one direction from the base 
to the extremity. Now when, by the process of carding, the 
filaments are broken into minute fragments, the parts are in- 
termingled in every direction, and the serrations tend to lock 
themselves into one another by meeting in opposite direc- 
tions. But when wool is prepared by combing, the serrations 
lie in one direction, and do not in the same degree tend to 
lock themselves together. 

In the manufacture of woollen cloth, the felting process is 
not called into operation until the threads are spun and 
woven, and in the preparatory process the tendency of the 
filaments to cohere is prevented by oiling the wool. But 
when the cloth is woven, it is subjected to a process termed 
Fulling, for the purpose of freeing it from the oily matter. 
The fulling is performed by machinery, and consists in press- 
ing the cloth in water along with clay, the aluminous matter 
of which combines with the oil of the cloth. It is in under- 
going this operation that the threads and filaments cohere 
together, so that the cloth becomes more thick, and does not 
unravel when cut. 

From this account, it will be seen that, while the facilitv 

WOOL. 47 

of felting is an important property in the case of all wool 
designed for the manufacture of cloth, and prepared by the 
card, it is not required in the case of wool intended for 
worsted, and prepared by the comb. Certain kinds of wool 
have this property in a higher degree than others, and are 
consequently better adapted for the making of woollen cloth. 
In general, the shorter kinds of wool having also fine fila- 
ments, are those of which the laminae are most numerous 
and distinct, and are those accordingly in which the felting 
property is the greatest. The property, however, is not in 
proportion to the tenuity of the fibres, since certain short 
and slender wools possess it in an inferior degree. Of all 
known wools, that derived from the Merino race possesses 
the felting property in the greatest perfection, and is accord- 
ingly the best adapted of all others for the making of cloth ; 
while the long and tough wool of the larger sheep is imper- 
fectly adapted to the preparation of woollen yarn, and ac- 
cordingly is never prepared by the action of the card. It is, 
therefore, the short and felting wools which alone are fitted 
for this process ; and until a period comparatively recent, they 
were, with few exceptions in this country, never prepared by 
any other means. This gave rise to a popular distinction, 
long in use, and not yet entirely abandoned. The long wools 
were termed Combing wools ; the short, Carding wools. But 
these designations are no longer applicable. By improve- 
ments in the woollen manufacture, the means have been 
found to prepare the shorter and more delicate wools by the 
comb as well as by the card ; and now a great proportion of 
all the short wool of this country is converted into worsted 
yarn. The South Down wool, which was formerly, and until 
a recent period exclusively, prepared by the card, is now in 
a still larger degree prepared by the comb for the manufac- 
ture of worsted. It has fallen in price, indeed, from its being 
no longer used for the finer cloths, but the range of its utility 
has been greatly extended. Thus it is also with the wool of 
the Cheviot, the Norfolk, and other Short-woolled breeds ; 


and there cannot be a doubt, that, although individual in- 
terests may have been injuriously affected by the fall in the 
price, the nation has been benefited by an extension of the 
purposes to which this class of wools can be applied. Nay, 
the general good of the wool-growers themselves has been 
eminently served. The demand for their commodity has be- 
come more steady, and the trade been placed on a surer basis, 
by being founded on an enlarged demand, and supported, not 
by* artificial regulations and fiscal restraints, but by an exten- 
sion of the woollen manufacture. Soon after the peace of 
1814, alarm was raised among the British wool-growers lest 
the price of the raw material should be reduced below what 
they chose to term a remunerating price. The Government 
of the day, in an evil hour, yielded to the influence exerted ; 
and in the year 1819, heavy duties were imposed on foreign 
wool, with the design of keeping up the price of the native pro- 
duce, under the specious pretext of encouraging British agri- 
culture. In six years this monstrous law was repealed, but 
not until it had done all that the shortness of the time allowed 
for establishing the manufactures of foreign rivals, and giv- 
ing them the ascendency in the markets of Europe. But the 
price of short wool continuing to decline, renewed efforts were 
made by the wool-growers to induce the Legislature to re- 
store the former restrictions. This, in 1828, led to a parlia- 
mentary inquiry, when a mass of evidence was produced, 
proving beyond all cavil the danger and evil of interfering, 
through the medium of duties and fiscal regulations, with the 
raw material of a manufacture which could only be sustained 
by freedom of trade and production. It was proved by the con- 
current testimony of witnesses from all parts, that the cloth 
made from British wool alone could no longer find a market 
in Europe, and was even deemed too coarse for the clothing 
of the labouring classes at home ; and that, without a free 
command of the wool of other countries, a great part of the 
woollen export trade of Great Britain would be for ever lost. 
It may well excite surprise that any class of men amongst 

WOOL. 49 

us should have dared to demand that the manufacturers of 
the country should be prevented from procuring the materials 
of their manufacture where they could be obtained cheapest 
and best ; nay, should not only be prevented from exercising 
this natural and necessary right, but compelled to take from 
the wool-growers at home, and at a price enhanced by fiscal 
regulations, what was absolutely unsuited for the purposes 
of commerce. The disgraceful law of 1819 had already 
shewn, that, by refusing to take the wools of other countries, 
we depressed the price of the raw material abroad, and thus 
gave an indirect premium to the foreign manufacturer ; and 
that, by forcing our manufacturers to employ wools of inferior 
quality and higher price, we directly unfitted them for com- 
petition in the general market of the world. It was of the 
repeal of the law of 1819 that the wool-growers thought fit 
to complain, as having produced the depreciation which had 
taken place in the price of the clothing wools, not perceiving 
that, in admitting the depreciation from this cause, they ad- 
mitted at the same time the magnitude and injustice of a 
burden, which had been so heavily taxing the manufacturing 
industry of our own country, and fostering that of others. 

\Vhat, k it may be well asked, did the wool-growers hope for 
by forcing up the price of wool by such expedients ? To the 
mere occupier of the land a forced rise of the raw material 
could only be beneficial during a passing term. On the ter- 
mination of the lease, the benefit would go to the owner of 
the land in the shape of increased rent. Thus, in order to 
raise the rent of the land, the wool-growers were prepared to 
lay a tax on every consumer of wool, that is, on every indi- 
vidual in the kingdom, and to cripple the trader in his means 
to maintain his equality in the foreign markets. It is known 
that, in these times, the great danger to the manufacturing 
prosperity of the country is the progress of other nations in 
those arts in which we have hitherto excelled, and that our 
relative superiority in such arts can only be maintained by 
our being enabled to supply the productions of them on the 



cheapest terms ; and granting that the wool-growers could, 
by means of an ill-judged monopoly, have forced up for a time 
the price of the native wool, would they not thereby have 
abandoned a yet more safe and permanent means of effecting 
the end, namely, that which would have resulted from in- 
creasing the demand for the manufactured commodity ? The 
injurious measure contended for was, however, happily re- 
sisted, never, it is to be trusted, to be brought forward again ; 
and the trade of wool, by being thrown open to the world, 
has been placed on a far surer foundation than if it had been 
made to rest on the narrow and insecure basis of monopoly 
and restriction.* 

The woollen trade of England has been cherished by the 
laws from early times, and has long been regarded as a main 
branch of the industry of the country. The Romans extended 
and perfected the arts of spinning and weaving in Britain, as 
in other of their provinces, and taught the natives to clothe 
themselves after the Roman fashion. They established fac- 
tories, of which that at Winchester was long distinguished. 
But the garments and woollen fabrics of the people were for 
the most part spun and woven by themselves, under that 
system of domestic manufacture which is the first in order of 
time in all rude countries. The employment of spinning and 
weaving was chiefly devolved on females, whence the term 
Spinster, whicli has been in use from time immemorial. Ed- 
ward the Elder, who died in the year of our Lord 925, mar- 
ried, we are told, the daughter of a shepherd or countryman 
of mean rank ; and being desirous that his children should 
have a princely education, " he sette his sons to scole, and 
his daughters he sette to woll werke, takyne example of 
Charles the Conquestour."t 

In the succeeding times of the Norman princes, the state 
of the woollen trade is made known to us by the records of 
customs, subsidies, fines, and fiscal regulations. "Wool formed 

* Remarks on Wool, aliunde, by the Author. f Fabian's Chron. 

WOOL. 51 

the chief revenue of the prince, and the subject of continued 
exaction on the people. Sometimes the woollen subsidies 
were paid in kind, but more generally in heavy duties laid 
upon the sale or exportation of the wool. In these early 
times the raw material alone was exported. It was carried 
chiefly to the Low Countries, where it was manufactured into 
cloths and worsted stuffs by the Flemings, then become the 
great weavers of Northern Europe. These industrious people 
maintained their superiority in the woollen manufacture for 
many ages, and during this period acquired that wealth which 
enabled them to render their country the most populous and 
fruitful in Europe. Their chief dependence for the raw mate- 
rial was on England, which alone could supply them in the 
due quantity with the wool which their innumerable looms 
required. They returned the manufactured commodity at a 
high price ; and yet the trade was mutually beneficial, and 
calculated to advance the industry of the ruder, as well as the 
more cultivated, people. But Edward III., soon after his ac- 
cession to the crown, resolved to wrest the woollen manufac- 
ture as much as possible from the Flemings, and establish it 
at home. He encouraged the resort of foreign artisans to 
England ; and, availing himself of certain discontents in 
Flanders, he invited over weavers, dyers, fullers, and others, 
and established them in different parts, affording them pro- 
tection and privileges. He caused it to be enacted, that all 
merchant strangers and denizens might buy and sell within 
the realm, freely and without interruption, and that all foreign 
clothmakers should be received from whatever foreign parts 
they came. To encourage the home manufacture, he even 
resolved to prevent the exportation of English wool, and the 
importation of foreign cloths. At a parliament held in March 
1337, it was enacted that no wool of English growth should 
be transported beyond sea, and that none should wear any 
cloths made beyond sea. But this statute soon gave way to 
the exigencies of the exchequer, and the temptation of im- 
posts, licenses, and fines. 


This prince has been regarded as the great founder of the 
manufacturing prosperity of England, with what justice, let 
the records of his exchequer, and the complaints of his harassed 
subjects, declare. He bestowed his favour upon the woollen 
trade, it is true, but merely as an engine for extorting money ; 
and in no previous reign had the exactions on this part of the 
industry of the country been more grievous. We are amazed 
at the sums he drew from forced subsidies, customs, fines, 
and otherwise. On one occasion having, without the sanction 
of Parliament, and contrary, accordingly, to Magna Charta, 
laid a heavy impost on all wool sold within the kingdom, the 
Commons agree to give him 30,000 sacks of wool for his re- 
lief, on condition that he should keep to the customs ordained 
k by law ; and the Lords, after humbly praying " that the great 
wrong set upon wool be revoked," offer him in return the 
tenth sheaf of all the corn of their demesnes, and the tenth 
fleece of wool, and the tenth lamb of their own stores, to be 
paid within two years. The clergy sometimes assisted him, 
as, on one occasion, by raising for him 20,000 sacks. When 
these woollen subsidies were to be levied, care likewise was 
used that the king's market w r as not interfered with. Pro- 
clamation was sometimes made, " that no person buy any 
wools before the king be served, whereunto all customers 
shall have an eye."* On one occasion, the king having re- 
solved to export 20,000 sacks on his own account, his ready 
Parliament enacted that no man before that time should pass 
over any wool on pain of treble loss, life and member ! 

Such was the protection afforded to the woollen trade on 
the part of our earlier governments. By the increasing power 
of the people, the exactions of the prince were better resisted 
in the following reigns ; but yet we recognise little of just and 
liberal principles in the legislation of the times. Guilds and 
corporations with exclusive privileges were multiplied, and 
thus monopoly crept into all the departments of the woollen 

* Smith's Memoirs of Wool. 

WOOL. 53 

trade ; foreigners were treated with jealousy and injustice ; 
and restrictions were extended to every branch of the manu- 
facture. Still, the woollen manufactures of the country con- 
tinued to extend ; but it was not until the more settled times 
of Henry VII. that cloth began to be exported in any quan- 
tity. But how little of this advancement was due to the wis- 
dom of the laws, may be seen from the statutes which were 
before and afterwards enacted. Certain towns and districts 
were frequently allowed the exclusive privilege of manufac- 
turing and selling certain kinds of goods. An act of Henry 
VIII. declares, that worsted yarn is the " private commoditie" 
of the city of Norwich, and county of Norfolk ; and therefore 
enacts " that none shall be transported, nor shipped to be 
transported, nor bought, nor caused to be bought, by any but 
weavers in the said city or county." Another act recites, 
that " the city of York afore this time hath been upholden 
principally by making and weaving coverlets, and that the 
same have not been made elsewhere in the said county till of 
late, and that this manufacture had spread itself into other 
parts of the county, and was thereby debased and discredited ;" 
and therefore ordains, " That none shall make coverlets in 
Yorkshire but inhabitants of the city of York." An act of 
the same prince revives certain older laws against enclosures, 
and another limits the number of Sheep which any one shall 
keep, on account, it is stated, of the rise in the price of 
victual and clothing. By an act of William and Mary, it is 
ordained that no clothier out of a burgh, market town, or 
corporate town, shall have above one loom ; that no weaver 
dwelling out of a city shall have above two looms ; that no 
weaver shall be either tucker, fuller, or dyer ; that no fuller 
or tucker shall keep a loom ; that no person shall cause any 
white broad woollen cloths to be made but in a city, or where 
such cloths have been made for the space of ten years before ; 
that no weaver dwelling out of a city shall have above two 
apprentices at one time ; and that none shall set up weaving 
unless he have been apprentice to, or have exercised the 


same, for seven years, and so forth. Absurd as are these, 
and many more of the laws of the times, the woollen trade 
arid manufacture had been continually extending ; and, in 
the" glorious reign of Elizabeth, became one of the main 
sources of national opulence and power. 

With the progressive increase, during the preceding reigns, 
of the foreign export trade in manufactured goods, the ex- 
portation of raw wool had been gradually declining, and 
became continually less a means of supplying the wants of 
needy princes. Elizabeth, with a provident sagacity, did not 
prohibit the exportation of the raw material ; and thus, while 
she supported the manufacturer, she encouraged the growth of 
native wool, by suffering the growers to send their produce 
to the most suitable market. This wise policy had a happy 
effect ; while events arose, in connexion with the melancholy 
history of other countries, which gave a new vigour to the 
manufacturing industry of England. 

Charles V. had succeeded, together with his other fair 
dominions, to the sovereignty of the Low Countries, then 
including the Dutch provinces. The doctrines of the Refor- 
mation, so well suited to the genius of a frugal and calcu- 
lating people, had early made a silent progress in the coun- 
try ; but here, as elsewhere, the strength of authoritv was 
put forth to repress the spreading heresy. Civil grievances 
were added to religious quarrels. Charles lived to witness 
and deplore the growing discontent of his once faithful people; 
but it was reserved for his son and successor Philip II. to fan 
the embers of rebellion into flame, and complete the ruin of 
his rich and peaceful provinces. The people, who had been 
termed in contempt Geux, or beggars, by the minions of the 
Court, assumed, with bitter irony, the wallet and the staff as 
the ensign of their confederacy, and everywhere made head 
against their oppressors. A civil war ensued, rendered hor- 
rible by the merciless severity with which it was carried on ; 
by the sacking of rich towns, and other excesses of merce- 
nary soldiers ; by confiscations and judicial murders. After 

WOOL. 55 

a time, ten of the provinces remained subjugated, but seven 
achieved their independence, and became, under the name of 
the Seven United Provinces, or Republic of Holland, one of 
the most powerful nations of Europe. On the death of Philip, 
in 1598, the subdued provinces enjoyed a kind of repose ; but 
the commerce that made them powerful was gone, and all 
their arts were in a state of decay. During forty years of 
war and misrule, multitudes of artisans had migrated with 
their families to other countries, and in an especial degree to 
England, where they were received with sympathy and fa- 
vour. It is supposed that about 50,000 of these unfortunate 
refugees found shelter in England soon after the first inva- 
sion of the barbarous Duke of Alva. They were settled in 
all parts of the kingdom, and contributed to give that perfec- 
tion to the English manufactures, particularly of the finer 
stuffs, in which they were formerly deficient. This, in con- 
nexion with the growing commerce of the country, extended 
the woollen trade of England to every part of the world, and 
made it be regarded as the most important department of 
national industry. The illustrious De Witt, in lamenting 
the destruction of the woollen manufacture of the Nether- 
lands, first by injurious laws at home, and then by the cruelty 
of the Duke of Alva, observes, that afterwards " The English 
by degrees began to vend their manufactures throughout 
Europe, and then they became potent at sea ; and he who is 
powerful at sea is a lord at land, and more especially a king 
of England. " 

During the reigns of the princes of the House of Stuart, 
the woollen trade continued in a languishing condition. The 
commercial legislation of this period, with respect to wool, 
was marked by the spirit of monopoly and exclusiveness, a 
short-sighted regard to little interests, a petty intermeddling 
with the details of trade, and a jealousy of particular classes, 
interests, and countries. The Dutch, then becoming a ma- 
nufacturing as well as a trading people, were the subjects of 
especial jealousy and dislike. They had become the princi- 


pal dyers of Europe. King James I., in the plenitude of his 
wisdom, resolved to take the process of dyeing into his own 
hands. He gave exclusive patents to persons at home to 
perform it, and ordained that no cloth but that dyed in Eng- 
land should b.e exported. The Dutch and Germans retaliated, 
and refused to take cloth dyed in England. But jealousy 
was not confined to aliens. The woollen manufacture had 
taken root, and was making progress in the sister Island, 
when addresses were presented to the King and both Houses 
of Parliament, " beseeching his Majesty to take effectual 
measures to prevent the growth of the woollen manufactures 
in Ireland/' The exportation of Irish wool to any country 
but England was rendered a felony ; and the importation of 
manufactured goods into England itself was prevented by 
restrictions equivalent to a prohibition. The exportation, 
even, of our English wool, was rigidly prohibited ; and the 
protection given to stranger artisans was so counteracted 
by the miserable laws of corporations, that numbers of the 
former refugees quitted the country in disgust. 

During the reigns of Queen Anne and the two first sove- 
reigns of the House of Hanover, the home consumption of 
woollen goods greatly increased, but the foreign woollen 
trade remained nearly stationary. During the first part of 
the reign of George III., it progressively extended, but yet 
not to a degree corresponding with the increasing wealth of 
the country. The chief demand was for the West India 
Islands and the North American Colonies. After the year 
1773, a revolution occurred in manufacturing industry, which 
may be said to have changed the condition of human society. 
Machinery was applied to the fabrication of cotton, and the 
stupendous power of steam was called into more extended 
action. First came the Spinning-jenny, by which a child 
could direct a hundred spindles and more, all at a time ; then 
the beautiful Frame of Arkwright, which required merely 
that the raw material should be supplied, in order to be spun 
into threads of surpassing fineness ; then the Mule-jenny ; 

WOOL. 57 

and last the Power-loom, which substituted mechanical for hu- 
man power in the forming of the cloth. A similar machinery 
was applied to the spinning and weaving of wool, and the 
whole processes of the art were changed. The variety, qua- 
lity, and cheapness of the productions increased in a won- 
derful degree ; and, notwithstanding the amazing extension 
of the use of cotton in furniture, clothing, and dress, the con- 
sumption of wool in England has not only not diminished, 
but is at this time greater than in any former age. 

The number of Sheep in the British Islands has been va- 
riously computed at from thirty to thirty-five millions. Tak- 
ing the latter sum, which probably falls below the real 
amount, and assuming the produce, after making allowance 
for the deficient weight of the wool of slaughtered sheep and 
lambs, to be 4| lb. the fleece, the total quantity produced 
will be . ... 157,500,000 lb. 

Whereof are exported in the raw state, 4,603,799 

Leaving to be manufactured, . 152,896,201 lb. 

And assuming the price to be Is. 3d. per lb., 

the value of the raw material will be L.9,556,012 11 3 
The value of foreign wool imported, 

56,700,895 lb. at 2s. 6d., is . 7,087,61117 6 

L.16,643,624 8 9 

Supposing, then, the value of the manufactured commo- 
dity to be 2| times that of the raw material, the value of 
manufactured woollen goods produced in Britain will be 
L.41,609,061 : 1 : 10. 

This great national manufacture supplies a larger internal 
consumption than takes place in any other country ; and affords 
a surplus, valued at between six and seven millions sterling, 
besides yarn, valued at about half a million, for an export 
trade to all parts of the world, being more than one-eighth 


part of the whole export trade of the kingdom. The woollen 
trade is, therefore, of surpassing importance to the nation. 
It has to contend with the fiscal regulations, and the increas- 
ing production and rivalry of other countries ; but hitherto 
the superior capital, machinery, and industry of the country, 
and the facilities of an extended commerce, have given advan- 
tages to the British manufacturer which no European coun- 
try as yet possesses. 

This brief account of the nature and properties of wool, 
will prepare us for considering the characters of the various 
breeds of Sheep which have been naturalized in these Islands. 


The Sheep of this race inhabit the group of Islands and 
Islets which lie to the north of the Pentland Firth, extending 
to about the sixty-first degree of north latitude. They have 
been in numerous cases intermixed with Dutch Sheep, brought 
by the fishing-craft which frequent these northern seas, and 
likewise with the Sheep of the Main. They thus differ in 
some degree in the different islands, and even in different 
flocks of the same island ; but they have manifestly a common 
origin with the Sheep of Norway and other parts of Northern 

These wild little Sheep are possessed of a fur consisting 
partly of hair and partly of fine wool. They are of different 
colours, black, brown, or white ; and more often they are of 
a gray colour, from the mixture of black and white, and are 
often curiously streaked. There are horns in both sexes, but 
more generally they are wanting in the females, and some- 
times in the males. Their horns are short, and often so straight 
and upright, as to resemble those of the Goat. Their tails. are 
short and broad, and their limbs slender, their aspect is 
wild, and their motions are active. 


These Sheep have acquired the characters which fit them 
for the condition in which they are placed. The country 
which they inhabit possesses a climate eminently cold and 
humid, and is exposed to continual gusts and storms. Scarce 
a tree is to be found, or a shrubby plant, beyond the heath 
which covers the soil. Many of the islets are little else than 
rocks, with a covering of peat, washed by the spray of the 
boisterous seas which surround them, and occupied only by a 
few Sheep left to find their own food. Under these circum- 
stances, the Sheep are small in size, but hardy, and capable 
of subsisting under great privations of food. The wethers 
may be fattened, on a medium, to 6 or 7 lb. the quarter. At 
certain seasons they find their way from the mountains to the 
shores, and feed on the fuci and other marine plants. It is 
remarkable to see them, on the receding of the tide, running 
down from the hills, as if possessing an instinctive knowledge 
of the time of ebb. They remain feeding while the sea allows ; 
and sometimes they are caught by the surrounding tide and 
drowned. Sometimes they are unable, from exhaustion, to 
ascend again the cliffs of the coast, and so perish ; sometimes 
they are driven into coves, where they are imprisoned until 
the retiring tide permits them to escape. It is remarkable 
that these Sheep feed readily on animal substances. One of 
the greatest resources in some of the islands for keeping 
them, when no other provender exists, is fish, which are dried 
on the rocky shores for that purpose. These Sheep manifest, 
in their habits, the rudeness of their condition. The rams 
will often set upon the other sheep of the flock if wounded, 
and destroy them. They will furiously attack the females 
and new-born lambs, as if, in the dreary circumscribed islets 
which they inhabit, they had acquired the instinct of endea- 
vouring to prevent the too great multiplication of their num- 
bers. The ewes, conscious of the danger, make their escape 
at the time of lambing, that they may bring forth their young 
in secret. When brought to the richer countries, these wild 
creatures make every effort to escape from the enclosures 


which confine them, find their way to the nearest elevated 
grounds, and wander from place to place. They crop the tops 
of herbs in the manner of goats, and endeavour to reach the 
branches of shrubs and trees. Their descendants, for more 
than one generation, retain the wild habits of the race. 

Of these Sheep, the least mixed with foreign blood are those 
of the remoter Islands, chiefly of Zetland. The Sheep of 
Orkney are of a more mixed descent, and the impure breeds 
have not the fineness of wool which distinguishes the ancient 
race. In these animals, the hair grows mixed with the wool 
all over the body. The wool falls off at the commencement 
of the warmer season, leaving the hair to protect the animal. 
Previous to the winter months, the wool has again grown, 
and, along with the hair, forms a thick fur, suited to afford a 
covering during the intense rigour of the colder season. The 
usual practice is to pluck off the wool, and not to shear it. 
This practice has been described as rude and cruel. It is, 
however, the method of treatment which is the best adapted 
for obtaining the wool unmixed with the hairs, which would 
render it unsuited for being spun and woven. The wool may, 
in this manner, be taken from the skin without violence, and 
would fall off naturally, and be left amongst the heaths and 
in the bogs. The wool is scarcely ever washed before being 
pulled, and the quantity is very small, not exceeding from l 
to 2 Ib. in the unwashed state. It is remarkable for its soft- 
ness and the tenuity of its filaments. It is admirably suited 
for being made into hose and fine flannels, but is deficient in 
the property of felting, and is therefore ill adapted for the 
making of cloths. The black-coloured wool is the most 
valued for the making of hose and caps, because it does not 
require the addition of dyes. The hides with the wool form 
beautiful pelisses, and would be valuable on this account, 
were such dresses in demand in this country. 

The Sheep, over a great part of these islands, are pastured 
in common, and the general treatment of them is rude in a 
remarkable degree. The animals are often left entirely to 


their own resources in the bleak and desolate islands in which 
they are imprisoned. They are collected by being hunted to- 
gether once a-year, stripped of their fleeces, marked by their 
respective owners, and then turned adrift, until such as sur- 
vive are caught again in the following year, and subjected to 
the same treatment. In all cases, the number of Rams is 
allowed to be disproportioned to that of the Ewes ; and, in 
many cases, the number of the sexes are nearly equal. When 
Sheep are wanted from the pastures, they are run down by 
dogs ; and hence these poor creatures acquire as great a ter- 
ror for the dog as in other countries they do for the wolf or 
other beasts of prey. The dogs, termed Had or Sheep Dogs, 
are taught to select a particular Sheep, and run him down ; 
and curious old laws existed regarding the property and con- 
trol of these animals. Under the whole of this barbarous 
system, the mortality is excessive ; all the profit to be de- 
rived from a proper management of a flock of sheep is lost ; 
and all the means are foregone of improving the breed, by the 
selection of the male and female parents. 

It is painful to draw such a picture of neglect, as appli- 
cable to the rural economy of any part of a country like Bri- 
tain. Yet it is consoling to know that the seeds of improve- 
ment are scattered in these long-neglected Islands. In seve- 
ral of them are settled various landed gentlemen, who are 
equal in intelligence to any in the kingdom, and who have 
begun to give the due attention to the resources of their 
country. The efforts of such individuals to improve the do- 
mestic animals of their estates cannot fail to meet with suc- 
cess, nor the benefits of their example to be gradually dif- 
fused. The power of steam has further been called into ope- 
ration, to bring those remote Islands into contact with the 
markets of the South ; and now the breeders, instead of suf- 
fering their Sheep to become the prey of eagles, ravens, and 
gulls, and to perish through hunger and neglect, have the 
means of carrying their rich and delicate mutton direct to the 
best markets of consumption in the kingdom. 


A .question of economical interest for these Islands is, 
whether the existing breeds should be preserved, or new 
ones substituted. The interests of individuals may be ex- 
pected to lead them to the latter course, at least to the ex- 
tent of crossing the native races with superior stock. In 
this manner an immediate profit may be expected ; and it is 
not to be supposed that individual breeders will abandon a 
mean of present profit for one more distant and contingent. 
Under this system, indeed, the pure Scandinavian Breed will 
diminish in numbers, and ultimately disappear ; but this 
could scarcely be regretted, if a more useful class of animals 
were to be substituted. If it were wished to preserve the 
ancient race in such of the Islands as yet produce them, then 
the attention of breeders should be directed to the proper 
management of their flocks, to better feeding, and to long 
and persevering care in the selection of the males and females. 
Without attention to these things, the present race of Zet- 
land Sheep can never be recovered from the degeneracy into 
which it has fallen during ages of maltreatment and neglect. 

The Merino Sheep have been tried for the purpose of cross- 
ing the native race ; but, as might have been anticipated 
from the habitudes of the Merino parents, the progeny was 
found unfitted to withstand the rigour of the climate, and the 
exposed situation of the country. The Cheviot Sheep have, 
however, been used for crossing with advantage, and appear 
to be the breed which is greatly the best for the purpose. 

The Short-tailed Sheep of Northern Europe had also been 
early carried to the Hebrides, doubtless by the Norwegians. 
Some of the descendants of these Sheep remain, but only in 
scattered remnants, which are rapidly disappearing, their 
size being diminutive, and the interest of the breeders having 
everywhere led them to adopt breeds of more economical 
value. Polycerate Sheep, too, are sometimes found in the 
Islands of Scotland, doubtless the descendants of the same 
race in Iceland and the north of Europe, but they are gene- 
rally worthless, and are nearly extinct. 



Although the early inhabitants of North Britain directed 
more attention to the Goat than to the Sheep, it appears 
that Sheep were reared by them in some numbers in the 
higher countries, and largely in the plains, when the country 
had become cleared of wood and partially cultivated. Rem- 
nants of the older races existed up to a late period in the 
last century; but on the introduction of Sheep of a larger 
size, and of more economical value, the older races progres- 
sively disappeared, until a few scattered flocks only were 
left in some of the more distant parts of the country, chiefly 
in the Hebrides and Central Highlands. These Sheep pre- 
sented different characters, according to the nature of the 
localities in which they were reared ; but they may be de- 
scribed, in general, as being of small size, and lank agile 
forms ; as having generally short slender horns ; and as hav- 
ing a soft wool, fitted for the making of flannels, but not 
well adapted for felting. They had the tails long, and not 
short and flat like the Sheep of northern Europe ; so that 
they differed entirely in race from those which, at a sub- 
sequent period, were introduced into the remoter Islands 
by the Scandinavian pirates. They were of various colours, 
frequently brown, and often this brown colour remained on 
the face when the rest of the body had become white ; on 
which account they sometimes received the name of the Dun- 
faced breed. They were exceedingly wild, and hardly to be 
confined by common enclosures. They were hardy in a re- 
markable degree, subsisting on scanty fare, and bearing the 
rudest treatment, and were remarkably exempt from those 
maladies which frequently produce such ravages in the mo- 
dern races. 

The Soft-woolled Sheep may be said to be now nearly ex- 
tinct as a separate variety in Scotland ; but kindred races 


still exist in Wales and Ireland, the remnants, we may be- 
lieve, of the ancient Sheep of the country. 


The Sheep of Wales, inhabiting a country partly of moun- 
tains and partly of valleys and plains, may be expected to 
present great diversities of character. Accordingly, we find 
a variety of breeds, from the wilder races of the higher 
mountains to the larger Sheep of the lower country. The 
latter classes of Sheep, however, are not truly Welsh. They 
are the Leicester, Cotswold, and other Sheep of the English 
plains', either pure or mixed with the races of the mountains. 
It is the Mountain Sheep alone that we are to regard as the 
genuine Sheep of Wales, the descendants, it maybe believed, 
of the ancient Sheep of South Britain. 

Of the Mountain Sheep of Wales there are numerous 
minor varieties, but generally they may be divided into two 
groups, which may be regarded as the types to which all 
the others have more or less affinity. A great part of the 
mountains of Wales, it is to be observed, is absolute com- 
mon, in which animals of every kind may be mingled to- 
gether ; and however distinct the original races may have 
been, it is not to be supposed that they can have remained 
without intermixture during the many ages in which Wales 
has existed nearly in its present state. Notwithstanding, 
however, of this amalgamation, there may be traced the 
characters of two very distinct groups ; the first, the wilder 
Sheep of the higher mountains ; the second, a race generally 
inhabiting a lower range of pasturage, and possessed of pecu- 
liar characters. The first may be termed the Sheep of the 
Higher Mountains, as indicating their habitat ; the second, 
the Soft-woolled Sheep of Wales, as denoting the character 
of the fleece. 


The Sheep of the higher mountains are of small size, 
scarcely capable of fattening to above 5 Ib. the quarter, and 
have horns, both in the male and female, slightly curved, and 
stretching backwards in the manner of the Goat ; their tail 
is of ordinary length ; they have a ridge of coarse hairs pass- 
ing along the spine to the tail, surrounding the neck and 
reaching to the dewlap ; the wool on the sides is of medium 
fineness, and on the haunch it is coarse and wiry. The colour 
of the fleece is black, gray, or brown. 

This remarkable race has the wool and aspect of the 
Sheep, but in habits it rather resembles the Goat. It seeks 
the summits of mountains ; it vaults, rather than runs ; 
and feeds on the dry aromatic plants of mountains in prefer- 
ence to the herbage of the lower valleys. Like all the na- 
tive Sheep of elevated regions, the fleece of these wild little 
animals is a mixture of hair and wool, so that their bodies 
may be better protected from the inclemency of the weather. 
They are almost as difficult to be approached in their native 
haunts as the Deer or the Antelope. Some say that they 
station sentinels on the higher ground, who give notice to the 
scattered flock of the approach of danger by a kind of shrill 
bleat resembling a falsetto tone. As in the case of the An- 
telope, no sooner is one alarmed, than all the others bound 
off together, gazing behind them as they run in the manner 
of the Musmon and Argali. The rams attack the ewes at 
the period of bringing forth their young a singular instinct, 
existing, it has been seen, in the wild races of the Zetland 
and Orkney Islands, and given, it may be believed, to pre- 
vent the multiplication of their numbers beyond the means 
of subsistence. 

It may appear remarkable .that this race should preserve 
itself distinct from the others with which the commons and 
mountains of the country are stocked. It is to be observed, 
however, that this is in accordance with the habits of all 
Sheep possessing a peculiar character and temperament. 
Thus, the naturalized Merino Sheep never amalgamate tho- 



roughly with the races with which they are mingled in the 
same pastures ; they collect in separate flocks upon the 
higher grounds, and crowd together when alarmed ; in like 
manner, if any of the breeds of Forest Sheep are mingled 
with those of the lower country, they congregate together, 
and pursue their own range of pasturage. Now, from what- 
ever causes the wild Sheep of Wales assumed their existing 
character, they have acquired the habits proper to their 
situation. They keep by choice to their natural habitat, and 
herd together ; and hence it is that the original characters 
of the race have not merged in those of other varieties. 

This race of Sheep, though with some change of character, 
is found all over the most elevated parts of Wales, from the 
inland mountains of Glamorganshire to those of Merioneth 
and Caernarvon. They are numerous in Caernarvon, and 
when seen by the traveller have more the aspect of Dogs and 
Foxes than of Sheep. 

As this race becomes naturalized in a lower range of 
mountains, or in any way is placed under more favourable 
circumstances with respect to the supplies of food, it becomes 
enlarged in size, and loses part of its natural rudeness. Ac- 
cordingly, gradations are observed in the character of the 
race, from the more elevated and barren mountains, to those 
which are of a lower altitude, or more productive of herbage. 
The Sheep of Radnor and some other parts are of the same 
descent, but are so changed by the more favourable circum- 
stances under which they are reared, that they are looked 
upon as distinct breeds. They have manifestly, however, a 
common origin with the wilder Sheep of the higher moun- 
tains ; and there are everywhere examples to shew the pro- 
gressive steps by which the wilder race may assume a new 
set of characters, in consequence of better food and atten- 
tion to the parents in breeding. All the varieties of the 
Welsh Sheep which have an affinity with the race of the 
higher mountains have horns, and have more or less of black 
hair on the face and legs. 


The wildest race of Sheep in Wales is susceptible of im- 
provement ; but, to accomplish this to the required degree, 
a long course of selection, combined with a proper practice 
with respect to feeding, is required. But this wilder breed 
presents no characters which can render it expedient to 
expend time and capital in cultivating it in preference to 
others already formed. The basis is bad, and the inter- 
ests of breeders will be served, either by substituting at 
once a superior breed, or by crossing the native race until 
one with better properties has been produced. Two races 
of improved Sheep exist in this country, which might 
either supplant the existing races o'f the Welsh mountains, 
or be employed for crossing until a new class of properties 
were produced. These are the South Down and the Cheviot 
breeds. The South Down is rather suited to a dry than a 
moist climate, and its natural habitat is not similar to the 
humid soils of Wales. It is conceived, therefore, that the 
Cheviot breed, though inferior as a breed to the South Down, 
presents a combination of properties which may adapt it 
better to this part of the country. It is, in all useful pro- 
perties, vastly superior to the indigenous race, and has al- 
ready been acclimated in countries more elevated and inhos- 
pitable than the highest ranges of the mountains of Wales. 


The most characteristic race of Sheep in Wales is that 
which has been termed the Soft-woolled breed. It may re- 
ceive this name on account of the quality of its wool, which, 
though mixed with hairs, is much less so than that of the 
wilder breeds referred to, and has a softness and tenuity of 
filament which peculiarly fit it for the making of flannels, 
one of the staple native manufactures of the Principality. It 
may, however, be more appropriately termed the White-nosed 


Breed, from a character which distinguishes it from every 
other in Wales. 

This race of Sheep is spread over the whole of Wales, and 
is truly the distinctive breed of the country. The animals 
are of small size, usually weighing from 5 Ib. to 7 lb. the 
quarter, when grown and fat. They are of the long-tailed 
variety of Sheep, thus agreeing with the Sheep of the Celtic 
nations of Europe, and differing from those of the Scandina- 
vians. The males have horns, which are thin, slightly curved, 
and bent backwards ; the females are generally destitute of 
horns, and sometimes the males. Their noses are white, or 
pink-coloured. They have lengthened hair beneath the throat 
like a beard. Their figure is very slender, and their posterior 
limbs long, as if to fit them for vaulting as well as running. 
Their neck is thin, and thrown back in the manner of the 
Antelope or Deer. The fur of the face and body is white, 
but sometimes, as in almost all breeds of Sheep, individuals 
wholly brown or black present themselves. 

These Sheep have all the wild characters of a mountain 
breed. They are of wandering habits, and range from pas- 
ture to pasture ; they prefer the plants of mountains to the 
more succulent and nutritive herbage of plains ; they delight 
to browse on the leaves of the ivy, and on the shoots of bitter 
shrubs, and they rise upon their hinder legs to reach them 
after the manner of the Goat. They are fond of taking their 
station on elevated points, and making their way amongst 
crags and cliffs. They are wary and timid, and, like the 
wilder Sheep of the mountain summits, give notice of ap- 
proaching danger by a signal. They steal down from the 
hills at night, and make inroads into the fields of wheat and 
other green plants. They are with difficulty confined by arti- 
ficial barriers, leaping over walls, and making their way 
through the interstices of hedges ; nay, sometimes they have 
been known, when driven to a distance, to escape from the 
vigilance of their keepers, and regain their native mountains. 
They are driven to London and other markets of consump- 


tion, being generally kept by the way to be fattened in the 
richer pastures. Their mutton, like that of all the Sheep of 
Wales, is excellent, and, when fat, brings a high price. 
Many carcasses are sold in London under the name of Welsh 
mutton, when, in truth, they are the produce of crosses of dif- 
ferent kinds. 

The wool weighs from 1 Ib. to 2 Ib. the fleece ; it is never 
free from hairs or kemps ; it possesses the character of long 
wool, and is, therefore, suited for the making of flannels, 
hose, and similar loose fabrics, rather than cloths ; never- 
theless, all the home stuffs for country use were formerly 
made of this and the other kinds of native wool. The Welsh 
long preserved the simplicity of ancient manners, and manu- 
factured their woollen stuifs at home. The cheapness of 
mechanical labour is rapidly putting an end to this domestic 
manufacture ; to the increase, doubtless, of the resources of 
the country, though not perhaps to the advancement of 
rural industry and happiness. A singular character exists 
in the case of this race of sheep. The wool of the neck 
tends to fall off that part of the body, and hence it is a fre- 
quent practice to clip the wool of the neck and face before 

The Sheep of Anglesea are allied to this race, but, being 
reared in a lower country, they are larger than the common 
Sheep of the mountains. Crosses have been made from 
time to time with the Sheep of Anglesea, but the affinity of 
the native race with the Soft-woolled Sheep of the mountains 
is easy to be traced, in the height behind, the low and narrow 
forequarters, and the character of the wool. The attempts 
to improve the old breed of Anglesea by crossing have not 
been successful, owing, it may be believed, to the want of per- 
severance and system ; and graziers and butchers prefer the 
native to the mixed races. 

The Old Radnor Sheep have some characters in common 
with the White-nosed Breed, but they are more distinctly 
connected with the Sheep of the higher mountains. They 


are of larger size and better form than the White-nosed 
Breed, fattening to from 7 lb. to 9 Ib. the quarter. Their wool 
is of the long or combing character, but, like that of all the 
Sheep of Wales, is soft, and suited to the making of flannels. 
It is to be observed that the modern Sheep of the district, 
known commonly as the Radnor Breed, differ considerably 
from the true Radnors, having been crossed with the Shrop- 
shire and other breeds of the low country. 

A staple production of Wales being its Sheep, a question 
of much interest is the manner in which the different breeds 
may be improved. The people of Wales, with the attach- 
ment to old habits which distinguishes them, are averse to 
changes, and, in the case of their Sheep, there are obstacles 
to improvement, independent of the habits of the people. A 
great part of the whole mountain pastures is common. 
Under such a system, it is difficult to introduce a beneficial 
management of sheep. At present, the treatment of the 
animals is defective in a high degree. No care is used in 
the selection of the breeding parents, and no provision is made 
for the proper feeding of the animals in winter : they are left 
in a state of nature, and scarcely looked to but when they are 
to be caught for divesting them of the fleece. It is not un- 
common to shear the lambs in the first year, a practice highly 
detrimental in a moist and elevated country ; but the still 
worse practice exists of weaning the lambs at an early season, 
in order to milk the ewes. The lambs born in March are 
frequently weaned in May, and the ewes are milked night 
and morning until the middle of September. This miserable 
system is calculated to destroy the vigour of the Sheep, and 
take away the means to produce and rear a healthy offspring ; 
and, until it is abandoned, we may be assured that the Sheep 
of the Welsh mountains will continue puny and degenerate. 
The substitution of another breed would not remedy the evil, 
if this destructive management were continued, and there- 
fore, the primary improvement of the Sheep of Wales must 
be a change of the system of management. 


'.t were certainly to be desired, that the ancient breeds of 
these mountains could be preserved, as being naturalized to 
the country, and producing a kind of wool, which is suited to 
a useful class of manufactures ; yet, undoubtedly, individual 
breeders will find it more for their interest to adopt a breed 
already improved, than to incur the long delay and expense 
of improving the existing ones. Crossing will probably be 
resorted to more frequently than an entire substitution of a 
new breed ; and it is important, that the breeders proceed 
with judgment in the system of crossing which they adopt. 
They should select the breed which experience shews to be 
the best calculated to amalgamate with the existing race. 
The most suitable for this purpose seems, as has been already 
said, to be the Cheviot, as being the inhabitants of an elevated 
country, and producing a kind of wool, which, though dif- 
ferent from the Welsh, yet brings a good price in the 
market. The Southdowns, with all their valuable properties, 
seem scarcely so well suited to these humid mountains, as the 
more robust Cheviots ; and it is remarkable, that the South 
Down Breed is less in favour with breeders in the moist cli- 
mate of the western parts of this country, than towards the 
eastern coasts, where the drier climate is nearer to that of 
the Chalky Downs which may be regarded as the native 
country of the race. Some attempts have been made to cross 
the Welsh Sheep with the Black-faced Heath Breed of Scot- 
land. But a race superior to the Black-faced Heath Sheep 
could exist in the mountains of Wales, and the effect of such 
an intermixture would be to destroy that fineness of fleece 
which is proper to the existing breeds. 


Ireland, from the fertility of the soil, and the mildness and 
humidity of the climate, is in an eminent degree adapted to 


the production of the grasses, and consequently, to the rear- 
ing of Sheep. It is known, that from early times Sheep were 
amongst the domestic animals of the country, affording hy 
their skins and fleeces covering to the inhabitants. After 
the country fell under the dominion of England, the estima- 
tion and importance of this native production is chiefly made 
known to us by cruel laws, prohibiting the exportation of the 
Avool of the country ; which, notwithstanding, found its way 
in great quantity from the west of Ireland to Flanders and 
other countries where a demand for it existed. There were 
then no large manufactories in the country itself ; but the 
inhabitants, like the Welsh, prepared their wool at home. 
This system, the happiest that could be for the industry and 
virtue of the people, remained even when the rural popula- 
tion was undergoing an unhappy change ; and a great deal 
of coarse stuff is still made in this way by the poor peasantry. 
There are now also large manufactories of wool in Ireland ; 
and, after supplying these, there is an extensive exportation 
of the raw material and of worsted yarn to this country. 

The Sheep of Ireland consist partly of mountain breeds, 
and partly of a large long-woolled race, which exists, with 
very uniform characters, over the greater part of the country. 
This latter race, which resembled the coarser extinct breeds 
of the midland and western counties of England, is not now 
to be found in its unmixed state. It has undergone an entire 
change by the effects of crossing, and is every where greatly 

Of the Mountain Sheep of Ireland there are several breeds, 
with characters more or less distinctly marked. Those of 
Kerry and the west of Ireland are the most extended and 
remarkable : that of the Wicklow Mountains has a more li- 
mited range, but is the most valuable. 

This breed inhabits the Wicklow Mountains in the county 
of that name. These mountains are of considerable eleva- 
tion, exposed to high winds, and possessing a humid climate. 


Remnants only of the pure breed remain, chiefly in the vale 
of Glenmalure, the original race having been very generally 
crossed by the South Down and other breeds. 

The Sheep of the Wicklow Mountains have an evident affi- 
nity with the Sheep of Wales. They are of small size, but 
of tolerably good form, and the mutton is excellent. They 
are very wild, and at night steal down to the lower grounds 
to pilfer the growing corn. They are destitute of horns in 
both sexes. Their faces and legs are white, but there is a con- 
stant tendency to the production of black lambs ; and there 
cannot be a doubt that the breed, if left to itself, would be- 
come wholly of that colour. A local law exists that all black 
lambs shall be destroyed. The wool is soft and fine, and 
somewhat long in the staple ; but it is always more or less 
mixed with hairs. The* quality of the wool, however, as well 
as the general character of the Sheep, varies with the eleva- 
tion. In the lower rocky hills, as those which do not exceed 
800 feet above the level of the sea, the wool is more fine 
and less mixed with hairs. At a higher elevation, where 
heath and wet bogs begin, the Sheep become smaller and 
wilder. In these, a ridge of bristly hairs extends like a mane 
along the neck and spine, and hair is likewise found in quan- 
tity on the hips and dewlaps, as in the wilder sheep of Wales. 
There is here that adaptation which is every where observed 
in this species of animals, to the physical conditions of the 
country in which they are naturalized. The ridge of hair 
along the spine, and on the haunches and breast, causes the 
moisture to fall off ; nay, the lambs are born with a provision 
against the wetness of the boggy soil, there being a large 
growth of hair upon the parts which are in contact with the 
ground when the animals repose, namely, the breast, the 
limbs, and the belly. 

The county of Wicklow, lying contiguous to the capital, is 
favourably situated for the rearing of Sheep, fitted for the 
demand of a numerous population. The practice of rearing 
lambs for early consumption has long prevailed in the dis- 


trict. The Sheep of the mountains are purchased by the 
breeders of the lower farms. The Rams are turned amongst 
the Ewes in the beginning of June, and by the end of July 
the greater part of the latter are impregnated, so that the 
Lambs are born in the months of December and January. 
At the end of a fortnight or more they are separated from 
the dams, and placed in pens in the feeding-house. The 
Ewes are driven into the feeding-house twice a-day, and 
those whose Lambs are dead, or have been disposed of, are 
first held to be suckled, and then the Lambs are permitted 
to suck their own dams. After a time they are further fed 
with milk from the cow in addition to that of the Ewes. In 
this manner the Lambs are fed for about six weeks, when 
they are ready for use. Under this system, the inhabitants 
of Dublin are supplied with as fine early lamb as any part of 
the United Kingdom. The Wicklow Ewes are good nurses, 
and hence are tolerably well adapted to this kind of manage- 
ment. By retarding the period of receiving the male, the 
Ewes are made to be impregnated in the months of summer, 
and having acquired the habit, the Ewes retain it, and are 
kept by the breeders as long as they will bear lambs. 

From the quality of the wool, the goodness of the mutton, 
and the adaptation of the females to the rearing of early 
lambs, the pure Wicklow Mountain Breed was not undeserv- 
ing of being preserved and cultivated. The practice of cross- 
ing, however, has been introduced, and from the more im- 
mediate profit which it affords, is more likely to be pursued 
than a system of progressive improvement by breeding from 
the native stock. The South Down Sheep have been those 
chiefly employed for crossing, and are, doubtless, calculated 
to produce a race greatly superior to the indigenous one. It 
may be believed, however, that the Cheviot, already accli- 
mated in an elevated country, would, as in the case of the 
Sheep of the Welsh Mountains, have been found better 
adapted to the crossing of the Sheep of these moist mountains. 
Nevertheless, a perseverance in a course begun, will be bet- 


ter than & change of purpose ; and, whichever race be pre- 
ferred, the effect will be beneficial, and in a few generations 
the indigenous race of the Wicklow Mountains may be ex- 
pected to cease to exist any where in the pure state. 

The full benefits, however, of any kind of crossing cannot 
be obtained, unless a better system of management is intro- 
duced amongst the neglected flocks of the district. At pre- 
sent, the smallness of the possessions, and the existence of 
commons, are eminently unfavourable to the bringing of these 
Sheep to any perfection, Their wildness of habits, is mainly 
the result of the circumstances in which they are placed, and 
can only be corrected by enclosures, by subdivision of flocks, 
and by a regular system of management. 


The Breeds of Sheep of Ireland may be divided into two 
general Classes, those of the mountains, bogs, and moors, 
and those of the plains, valleys, and richer country. In the 
former class, one breed has been described, that of the Wick- 
low mountains, which has been seen to be closely allied to 
the ancient Sheep of Wales. The mountain breeds of other 
parts of Ireland present very different characters, and so 
little resemble any other breeds of Sheep in the British 
Islands, that we might suppose them to have a distinct 
parentage, did we not know the great changes produced in 
the form and characters of the species by the agency of food, 
climate, and situation. It is in the west of Ireland that we 
naturally seek for the more ancient races of the country, and 
we there find them mingled in blood with one another, and 
with the imported varieties which have spread over the same 
tracts, but in many cases presenting such characters as to 
indicate the traces of distinct breeds, under the common 
acceptation of the term. But it would be uninstructive to 
discriminate the minor varieties. It will suffice to present 


an example of one, which may be regarded as the type of 
several others, and whose characters lead us to conclude 
that it has remained for ages in its present state. 

The Kerry Breed of Sheep, notwithstanding of neglect and 
insufficient food, exceeds in size the breeds of Wales, of the 
Wicklow Mountains, and of many of the Old Forests of Eng- 
land. The horns are generally small and crooked, and some- 
times wanting in the female, although some of the allied 
varieties of other parts have the horns large and spiral. The 
wool is coarse, and hairy on the haunches, and to a certain 
degree along the ridge on the back, but on the sides it is very 
short and fine. The white colour of the fleece prevails, but 
there is a constant tendency to the development of the darker 
shades ; and the whole Sheep would become black and brown, 
were it not for the choice by breeders of those which are 
white These Sheep are in a remarkable degree wild and 
restless in their habits. In shape, eye, neck, position of the 
head, and general aspect, they approach to the Antelope or 
Deer tribes more than any other Sheep of this country. They 
fatten so slowly, that, even after they have arrived at matu- 
rity of age, they require a long time to become fully fat. 
They have, however, a great disposition to accumulate fat 
internally, and they are fit for the butcher when their ex- 
ternal appearance would indicate that they were still lean. 
Their mutton is juicy and of good flavour, which causes them 
to be greatly valued for domestic consumption. This is their 
really valuable property, but it is not of itself sufficient to 
render them deserving of extended cultivation. 

Although Ireland, from the mildness of its winter and mois- 
ture of the climate, is in a peculiar degree suited to the produc- 
tion of the grasses and other herbaceous plants fitted for the 
food of Sheep, yet a great part of the country is covered with 
peat, either collected in vast beds in the plains, or rising into 
eminences, or spread in thinner strata over the hills. Like 
all the countries of ancient Europe, Ireland was once covered 
with great forests, which neglect, and the prodigal waste of 


timber for fuel, and above all, the ravages of incessant wars, 
Lave long since eradicated. Giraldus Cambrensis, who came 
into Ireland after its first conquest by Henry II. in the twelfth 
century, states, that the country was full of woods on every 
side, but that the English, on gaining possession of it, cut 
them down, partly to deprive the banditti of their lurking- 
places, and partly to gain space for cultivation. For centuries 
the work of destruction proceeded on every hand ; and, on the 
quelling of the great Rebellion in the reign of Elizabeth, the 
remaining forests were still further reduced. To the motives 
which formerly operated was now added the desire of gain, 
and immense ship-loads of magnificent timber were sent to 
foreign parts, and many charcoal manufactories were esta- 
blished. Even in the seventeenth century, the ruin of these 
noble woods had not been completed. Boate, who published 
his Natural History of Ireland about the middle of the cen- 
tury, though he complains that many great woods which the 
maps represent had vanished, still describes numbers as ex- 
isting which are now no more. Speaking of the province of 
Leinster, he says, that Wicklow, and King's and Queen's 
counties, were throughout full of woods, some many miles 
long and broad, and that part of the counties of Wexford and 
Carlow were greatly furnished with them. Of Ulster, he 
writes, that there were great forests in the county of Donegal, 
and in the north of Tyrone ; likewise at Fermagh, along 
Lake Erne, in Antrim, and in the north part of Down. The 
greater part of the latter county, however, as well as Ar- 
magh, Monaghan, and Cavan, which, in the war with Tyrone, 
had been encumbered with thick forests, had then become 
almost bare. With respect to Munster, he tells us, that the 
counties of Kerry and Tipperary possessed many great 
forests, notwithstanding that the English, especially the 
Earl of Cork, had made great havoc with the woods. 

In this manner proceeded the spoiling of the natural riches 
of the beautiful Isle. The last Wolf was killed at the be- 


ginning of the eighteenth century, shewing that then the 
destruction of the great Irish forests was nearly completed. 
In the place of these verdant Woods, have arisen the dreary 
Bogs which have covered so great a part of the land with 
the aspect of desolation, affording fuel, indeed, by the 
sweat and toil of the miserable inhabitants, but covered 
with the innutritions plants proper to peat, and affording 
but a scanty sustenance to the herds and flocks that tenant 

The general treatment of the Sheep of the mountainous 
and peaty tracts of Ireland is rude, in a degree which the 
breeders of England will find it difficult to credit. Some- 
times the animals are mixed in common on the peaty moun- 
tains and flat bogs, where numbers of them perish from 
want and disease ; and often they spread like wild beasts 
over the country, stealing what they can obtain : sometimes 
they are coupled together, and left to find their food as they 
may, or tethered on patches of grass and rushes, or kept in 
the miserable cabins of their owners. All over the west of 
Ireland, from Donegal to Kerry, are to be found half-starved 
Sheep, either straying in wild flocks, of every age and kind 
together, or dragging one another in couples along, or fastened 
where they can find any food. " Our best sort," says Mr 
Sampson, in his Survey of Londonderry, *' are bought either 
in the fairs of the south-western counties, or else at Dervock, 
to which they are driven by jobbers from those pasture 
counties. I need say nothing of them. Our own strain is 
of all shapes and qualities, horned and without horns, coarse- 
woolled and fine ; almost all are humpy-boned and restless. 
Not long ago, one might see hundreds of Sheep travelling 
from farm to farm unnoticed and unowned. Every servant 
boy in the county who had a few shillings saved, laid it out 
on a Sheep or two, which he let loose on the bounty of Pro- 
vidence, and the toleration of his neighbourhood. Towards 
May, all these flocks were driven to the mountains. In the 


time of snow, these depredators, like the locusts of Egypt, 
devoured every thing before them. I have lost at one time 
two thousand head of curled kale. They get no winter fod- 
der but what they can steal." 

These remarks applied to the smaller races of the bogs 
and mountains, and are still partially applicable. The long- 
woolled Sheep of the richer country are under different cir- 
cumstances, and will be referred to hereafter. The means 
by which the more neglected races can be improved, are the 
same as in other cases have been adopted, a system of judi- 
cious crossing, or the substitution of superior breeds, and a 
better system of feeding and general treatment. 

But when we speak of defects in the husbandry of Ireland, 
we must remember that the removal of them is not always 
within the reach of common remedies. The evil may be seen, 
but the source of it may lie in the condition of the people, 
the state of property, and the relations between landlord and 
tenant. Six hundred years ago, Ireland was subjugated by 
her avaricious neighbour, and successive rebellions led to 
repeated overthrows, and to renewed plunder. The country 
was divided amongst the conquerors and their adherents, and 
for ages a great part of the disposable produce was with- 
drawn. Absenteeism became the habit of the favoured few ; 
and at this hour, a larger tribute is thus imposed upon the 
industry of the country than any conqueror ever imposed 
upon a subject colony ; and the country is poor, her labourers 
are unemployed, and her population is discontented, notwith- 
standing that she exports the largest quantity of raw produce 
of any country in the world of the same extent. One effect 
results from this destitution, that there is no barrier between 
the tenant and the demands of the receiver of rents. In 
England, the habits and condition of the people are opposed 
to an excessive exaction on the industry of the farmer. The 
English yeoman will not take land at all unless he has the 
means to live, and to obtain a fitting return from his capital 


in trade. The Irish peasant must take land in order that 
he may subsist, and is compelled to share his pittance with 
another to the uttermost residue that will permit himself to 
live. Hence the rents in Ireland are larger, in proportion to 
the means of payment, than in any country in Europe. While 
this defective relation exists between the landlord and tenant, 
while the disposable produce of the land is expended out 
of the country which it should enrich, and away from the 
poor man whom it should employ, while the land is parcelled 
out in order that excessive rents may be wrung from those 
that till it, while the pecuniary claims of the landlord or 
middle men are more directly answered by means of peasants 
content to subsist on the scantiest pittance, than by the in- 
dustry of tenants possessed of means to improve the land, 
we must expect that the resources of the country will be 
imperfectly developed, and that poor and wretched husband- 
men, as well as miserable breeds of Sheep, will possess it. 


England, like the sister Island, was once covered with 
noble forests, which gradually fell before the ravages of war, 
and the progress of the settler. But, on the conquest of the 
Normans, vast tracts of fine country were retained in the 
state in which they then existed, for the purposes of the 
chase, but retaining the names of forests, chases, and other 
denominations indicative of their original nature, and the 
purposes to which they had been applied ; such were Windsor 
Forest, Sherburne Forest, Mendip Forest, and many more. 
Even to the reign of Elizabeth, a large part of the whole sur- 
face of England was in the state of forest ; but, in place of 
vast tracts reserved for the capricious sports of the sove- 
reign, or the great feudatories, the unoccupied grounds had 


been gradually settled upon, acquired by individuals through 
royal grants and otherwise, or left in a state of common pro- 
perty, in which inhabitants of towns or the neighbouring 
country acquired the privilege of pasturage and other rights. 
The Royal Forests were by degrees reduced to a small ex- 
tent, as compared with their former state, and are .now partly 
planted for the supply of naval timber ; and, with respect to 
the Commons, these have been long in the course of division, 
under the sanction of Acts of Parliament. 

The native Sheep kept on these forests and larger com- 
mons often acquired distinctive characters, forming well-de- 
fined breeds. Of these several yet remain, and, until late in 
the last century, they were very numerous. Most of them, 
however, are no longer to be recognised as separate varie- 
ties, and few of them remain without intermixture with the 
Sheep of the adjoining country. They were generally of 
small size and defective form, but had usually short fine 
wool, suited for the manufacture of cloths. Their faces and 
legs were sometimes white, but generally black, gray, or dun : 
they had usually horns, but sometimes the horns were want- 
ing in one or both sexes. They were wild and thriftless, 
but, like all the smaller unimproved races, yielded excellent 
mutton. The cultivation of the forests, in all cases, caused 
the substitution of superior breeds ; and, even where cultiva- 
tion did not take place, the interests of the owners led them 
to cross their flocks with the superior breeds of the cultivated 

In the poorer and more elevated parts of the counties of 
Stafford, Leicester, Cheshire, Shropshire, and others, are still 
to be found the remains of old Forest Sheep, distinguished 
by black or gray faces and legs, and yielding short clothing 
wool. Those of Cannock Chase yet exist, though they have 
been mostly crossed. They are destitute of horns in both 
sexes, and the wool weighs from 2 to 31b. the fleece. The 
Sheep, likewise, of the ancient Forest of Belamere in Che- 
shire are still in existence : they are the type of the old 


Sheep of Shropshire, and approach to the general form of the 

Of the Forest Breeds, two remarkable ones yet exist in 
the elevated country between the Bristol and British Chan- 
nels, the one inhabiting the heathy tract of granite forming 
the Forest of Dartmoor, the other the district of greywacke 
of the Forest of Exmoor, at the sources of the river Exe, on 
the confines of Somerset and Devon. These two races have 
long attracted attention, from their having supplied the well- 
known Oakhampton mutton, so named from the sheep having 
been killed at that town, whence the carcasses are sent to 
London. But the Oakhampton mutton now not only includes 
that of the Forest Sheep, but that of the crosses between 
them and other breeds. 

The Dartmoor Sheep are very small in size, and, like the 
Sheep of Wales, have long soft wool, in which respect they 
differ from the other Forest Breeds. The faces and legs are 
white, and the males have horns. They are exceedingly 
wild and restless. They are reared in their native pastures 
of heath, and fattened in the lower country. They will re- 
main feeding in the valleys in winter, but no sooner does the 
vegetation of spring commence than they seek to regain their 
native pastures, and endeavour to break through the fences 
opposed to their return ; and even the crosses retain this 
instinct of the race. 

These Sheep produce mutton which bears a high price, and 
are constitutionally well suited to the barren undrained dis- 
trict to which they are indigenous; but yet they are an 
unprofitable race of Sheep, from their small size, defective 
form, and, above all, their wild and restless temper. The im- 
mediate profit from crossing them has been so great, that the 
pure breed is rapidly diminishing in numbers, and will soon 
become extinct. The principal breeds with which they have 
been crossed are the Leicester and South Down. The Leices- 
ter cross is preferred, being more hardy than that with the 
Southdowns, which seem to amalgamate less freely with the 


long-woolled breeds of Wales and the west of England, than 
even the long-woolled breeds of the plains. 

The Exmoor Sheep are yet smaller, more wild, and more 
intractable than the Dartmoor. The district they inhabit, 
near the Bristol Channel, is of limited extent. Although 
their habitat is so near to that of the Dartmoors, they pos- 
sess their own characters, and so may be termed a breed. 
The males have a large beard under the chin, from which 
cause they have the aspect of Goats ; and they have much of 
the agility and strength of these animals. Like Goats, they 
ascend precipices, and are with difficulty confined by ordinary 
walls and fences. They are very bold, attacking Sheep much 
larger than themselves. The females, as in the case of other 
wild breeds, are considerably smaller than the males, from 
whom they receive the roughest treatment. The wool of 
these curious Sheep is long and silky, and their mutton is 
excellent. Like the Dartmoors, they are disappearing in 
their pure state, from the effects of crossing, and have even, 
in some cases, given entire place to the Cheviots, which 
have been introduced into the district, and are found in all 
respects superior to the native stock. 

A race of Sheep, of allied characters to the Exmoor, 
stretches westward along the Bristol Channel to the rich 
country on the Parret ; and even on the Mendip hills, to the 
eastward, traces of the Exmoor form appear in the races of 
the country. On the great Forest of Mendip, the Sheep were 
formerly distinguished by the fineness of their wool ; but, 
with the enclosure of the forest, the ancient race ceased to 
exist in a state of purity. 

Of the various Forest Breeds of England, none is now 
likely to be cultivated in the pure state, because a long course 
of careful breeding would be required to communicate the 
suitable development of form, and because superior breeds 
have now been produced, which can either be made to cross 
the original ones, or be substituted for them. But it is to be 
regretted that earlier attention was not directed to some 


of these races, which possess fine wool, and which, by being 
acclimated in a lower country, would have increased in size 
and economical value. Some of the Forest Sheep of Stafford- 
shire were at least equal to the original Southdowns ; and, 
had they been cultivated with the same care, might have 
been extended to districts to which the Southdowns, bred in 
a country of chalk and fine herbage, are less adapted. 


From the high lands of Derbyshire on the south, to the 
confines of Scotland on the north, extends a chain of rugged 
heathy mountains, whose summit ridge separates the waters 
of the Tyne, the Tees, the Swale, the Wharfe, and other 
rivers which flow to the eastward, from those of the Bibble, 
the Lowther, the Lune, and others which flow westward. The 
elevation of this tract is from 1200 to 3000 feet, the highest 
summits being Cross Fell, near the sources of the South Tyne 
and Tees, on the eastern part of Cumberland ; Skinner Fell, 
on the confines of Yorkshire and Westmoreland ; Wharnside 
and others in the westerly part of Yorkshire. This central 
chain is separated from the yet higher mountains of Cum- 
berland and Westmoreland on the west, by the beautiful 
vales of Kendal and Eden. The tract is destitute of bold- 
ness and grandeur, and, towards the east, passes into the 
tame moors of Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire. 
This dreary tract is generally covered with coarse heaths, 
mixed with sedges, rushes, and the less nutritious grasses, 
and, from being exposed to the winds of both the eastern and 
western seas, possesses a cold climate. It has given rise to 
a race of Sheep now very widely diffused. This race has 
been termed the Black-faced Heath Breed, a name which, 
though it does not distinguish it from some of the Forest 
Breeds, may be retained, as indicating its peculiar habitat in 
a country of heaths. 


The Black-faced Heath Breed is chiefly found in the more 
northerly division of the chain of mountains referred to, be- 
ginning in the heathy lands of Yorkshire and Lancashire. 
It extends across the vales of Kendal and Eden to the higher 
mountains of Cumberland and Westmoreland on the west, 
and by the Carter Fell into Scotland, where it occupies the 
great range of the greywacke hills stretching from St Abb's 
Head on the east to the Irish Channel on the west. It 
stretches through the upper part of Lanarkshire into Argyle- 
shire, and all through the Highlands of Scotland, from the 
Grampians to the Pentland Firth. It has spread to all the 
Hebrides, and even to the Islands of Orkney and Zetland. 

This breed may be supposed to have found its way into 
Scotland by the mountains of the north of England. It has 
been settled for a period unknown in all the high lands of 
the countries of Roxburgh, Dumfries, Selkirk, Peebles, La- 
nark, and the adjoining districts. Tradition asserts that it 
was introduced into Etterick Forest by one of the Kings of 
Scotland, but it is rather to be believed that it found its way 
into the Border counties by the natural route of the moun- 
tains. Its introduction into Argyleshire, and the Central and 
Northern Highlands, has been of very recent origin, having 
taken place about the middle of last century, when Sheep 
began to supersede the herds of cattle which then abounded 
in the Highlands. By degrees, it displaced the ancient races 
of the country, of which only scattered remnants now exist. 

The Black-faced Heath Breed possesses characters which 
distinguish it from every other in the British Islands. It is of 
the smaller races of Sheep with respect to the weight at which 
it arrives, but it is larger and more robust than the Zetland, 
the Welsh, and the ancient Soft-woolled Sheep which it dis- 
placed. It somewhat resembles the Persian, so that it might 
be conjectured that it is derived from the East. But it is 
more natural to assume that its peculiar characters have been 
communicated to it by the effects of food and climate, in the 


rough heathy district from which it is derived. The male and 
the female have horns, very large and spirally twisted in the 
male, but sometimes disappearing in the female. The limbs 
are long and muscular, and the general form is robust ; but 
the shoulders are not so low as in the Welsh breeds, nor are 
the posterior limbs so long. The face and legs are black, 
and there is a tendency to this colour in the fleece ; but there 
is no tendency to the brown or russet colour, which distin- 
guishes the older fine-woolled races. The fur is shaggy and 
the wool coarse, in which respect it differs from that of all 
the other mountain breeds of the country. It is of medium 
length, and weighs about three pounds the fleece when washed. 
These Sheep are very hardy, and capable of subsisting on the 
coarsest heaths. They do not, however, like the Sheep of 
Wales, prefer the summits of mountains, but feed wherever 
pasture can be obtained ; and are not so nice in the choice 
of herbage as the Southdown s, Merinos, and other races de- 
rived from countries yielding the finer grasses. Although 
wild and independent in their habits, they are not so restless 
as the mountain Sheep of Wales and other parts, but can be 
induced to remain in enclosures, when sufficient food is sup- 
plied to them. The ordinary weight of the wethers, when 
killed at the age of about four years, is fifteen pounds the 
quarter ; but individuals are made to exceed this weight, 
when properly treated and sufficiently fed from an early age. 
The mutton is not so delicate as that of the Sheep of Wales, 
or the Southdowns of England, but it is more juicy, has more 
of the venison flavour, and is preferred to every other by 
those who are used to it. It is the mutton which is princi- 
pally consumed in all the larger towns of Scotland ; and great 
numbers of the Sheep, at the age of three years and up* 
wards, are carried to the pastures of the south, to be fattened 
for the English markets. 

An important property of this breed is its adaptation to a 
country of heaths, in which respect it excels every other. It 


is this property, as much as its hardiness, that has rendered 
it so suitable to the heathy mountains where it is acclimated, 
and where it finds subsistence beyond the ordinary range of 
other Sheep. It feeds on the loftiest mountains, up to the 
very verge where the heaths give place to the musci and 
other plants of the higher latitudes. Feeding much on the 
shoots of heath, these Sheep find subsistence, in the times of 
snow and severe frosts, better than any other in this country. 
The mothers are hardy nurses, and are able to bring up their 
young, when they themselves have been exposed to severe 
privations. A great defect of this breed is the character of 
the fleece, which, besides being thin on the body, yields wool 
fit only for the manufacture of carpets and the coarser stuffs. 
Little general attention has been paid to the quality of the 
fleece, although it is susceptible of considerable improvement. 
A defect of the wool, very common in this breed, is the ex- 
istence of what are termed kemps. These consist of hard 
and wiry filaments mixed with the pile. They are deficient 
in the felting property, and in the oily secretion which 
moistens the true wool. The removal of kemps is effected 
by superior food, and by breeding from parents free from the 
defect. Sometimes individuals of this breed are born with 
wool which is fine and short. Were advantage taken of this 
occurrence, it might be possible, by means of breeding, to 
produce a variety with fine in place of coarse wool. 

This breed, extending over a great variety of situation and 
soils, from the moist moors of Yorkshire and other parts to 
the rocky mountains of the north of Scotland, presents a 
great diversity of size and aspect. In some of the lower and 
less heathy moors both of England and Scotland, the Sheep 
have so far deviated from the ordinary type, as to have lost 
their horns, and the black colour of the legs and face. This 
variety is generally of smaller size, and less hardy habits, 
than those which are naturalized on the drier mountains of 
abundant heath. The best of the breed are found in Tweed- 
dale in Scotland, which may be partly due to the nature of 


the country, and partly to the superior care bestowed in 
breeding. Those existing in the hills of Cumberland, West- 
moreland, Yorkshire, and Lancashire, are much inferior to 
those of the Border counties of Scotland. Over a great part 
of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, the breed has de- 
generated, from the want of care, and from insufficient food. 
In many of these situations, indeed, the stock may be said 
to be mixed, for it has been the result of crosses with the 
original races. This is in an especial manner the case in 
the Hebrides, where the animals are small, and every way in- 
ferior to the genuine Heath Breed. 

The treatment of this hardy race of Sheep has a necessary 
relation to the circumstances of the country in which it is 
produced. The breeder of the Sheep is not usually the per- 
son who fattens them for use. He rears them to the age 
which suits the nature of his farm, and disposes of them to 
others who have farms on which they can be kept till they 
have arrived at the proper age for being fattened. They are 
then disposed of to the graziers and farmers, whose pastures, 
or means of supplying artificial food, enable them to prepare 
them for the butcher. This species of transfer is continually 
going on, and the numerous fairs of the country are the marts 
to which vast flocks of these Sheep are brought at different 
times. They find their way to the ultimate markets of con- 
sumption at various ages, but mostly when between three 
and four years old, and when the mutton has arrived at its 
greatest perfection in juiciness and flavour. Increasing 
numbers of them are now carried to the markets of London 
and other great towns, aided by the facilities of intercourse 
afforded by steam navigation. 

The means of rearing these numerous Sheep are afforded 
by the stocks of ewes maintained on the farms of the breeders, 
the number of each flock of ewes depending on the quality 
and extent of the natural pastures, and the age to which the 
progeny is reared on the breeding-farm. Thus, when the 
Sheep are sold when lambs or hoggets, the proportion of 


ewes is in a corresponding degree larger than when the pro- 
geny is kept to the age of wethers. In general, one shep- 
herd is reckoned sufficient for twenty-five scores of ewes, but 
for a much greater number of young sheep and wethers. 

The rams are admitted to the ewes about the 22d of No- 
vember, so that the season of lambing may not begin before 
the tardy vegetation of spring may be expected. During the 
months of winter, the pregnant ewes are suffered to range 
over those parts of the farm where food can be picked up ; 
the rushes, sedges, and other herbaceous plants mixed with 
the heaths, affording a scanty subsistence, rendered precari- 
ous by the falls of snow which often cover these dreary wastes 
for weeks or months at a time. The artificial provender that 
can be supplied is confined to a little coarse hay during deep 
snows, but even this is often wanting, and all the food sup- 
plied is what the animals can collect on their natural pas- 
tures. These wild and hardy Sheep, however, dig up the 
snowy surface to reach the herbs beneath, and support life 
under circumstances in which the more delicate races would 
perish. Yet, as it is, many die from the inclemency of the 
weather and the want of food, and numbers often are over- 
whelmed by falls of snow so sudden and violent that there is 
no escape. In districts where the mountains are of less 
elevation, and artificial shelter can be supplied, the condi- 
tion of these mountain flocks is in a corresponding degree 
less precarious ; but, generally, they are placed in situations 
which subject them to the evil of frequent destitution. 

When the season of lambing arrives, the ewes are often 
in a very emaciated condition ; but such good and hardy 
nurses are these mountain Sheep, that they are able to bring 
up their young under privations which few other breeds 
could contend against. The shearing of them takes place 
about the beginning of July. The ewes, as well as the 
other grown sheep on the farm, are driven to a river or 
pool, and made to leap from the bank and swim across. 
The same care is rarely bestowed on washing these wild 


Sheep as in the case of the finer breeds. In a few days 
after being washed they are shorn. After the middle of 
July, or about three months from the birth, the lambs are 
separated from the mothers. This is done simply by re- 
moving them to another part of the farm. In a short time 
they forget one another, and the milk of the dam ceases to 
be secreted. It was formerly the universal practice to milk 
the ewes for six or seven weeks, or even more, after the 
lambs were weaned. This practice is now considerably dis- 
used in the districts where the management of Sheep is the 
best understood, it being found that the profit from the milk 
is rarely compensated by the disturbance of the flock, and 
the exhaustion of the ewes previous to the perilous season 
of winter. 

The lambs on being weaned become, in the language of 
farmers, hoggets or hogs. The wether hogs may then be 
disposed of, and such of the ewe hogs as are not to be re- 
tained for the purpose of supplying the place of the old ewes, 
which, after having borne lambs for three or four years, are 
to be disposed of. After the lambs are weaned, such of the 
ewes as have borne the proper number of lambs are selected, 
and sold in the course of the autumn. When the young 
Sheep are not disposed of in the first year, they are kept 
until the second year, and sometimes until the third or fourth 
years. Their treatment while on the farm is the same as 
that of the ewes. 

A practice exists in the case of these mountain Sheep, the 
utility of which is proved by long experience, of anointing 
the skins previous to the months of winter. The substances 
generally used are tar and butter, prepared by boiling the 
butter and tar together. The proportions used vary in dif- 
ferent districts. In some places, six pounds of butter, and 
one gallon of tar, are used for twenty Sheep, and in others 
the quantity of tar is larger. The period of smearing is the 
end of October or beginning of November. The method is 
to separate the wool by the finger, and spread the ointment 


longitudinally from head to tail, so that the whole body shall 
be covered. The purpose served by the process is to re- 
move insects and cutaneous diseases, and to defend the skin 
from wetness. It is peculiarly beneficial in the case of this 
breed, whose fur is less close and fine than that of any other 
Sheep. The effect, however, is to diminish the value of the 
wool, by staining it with the colouring matter of the tar, 
which renders it less fitted for receiving the brighter colours 
in dyeing. But it increases the weight of the fleece, and 
conduces in so great a degree to the health of the animals, 
by rendering them less liable to be injured by the coldness 
and humidity to which they are exposed, that, whatever 
doubts may exist of the expediency of the practice in the 
case of other mountain breeds, experience shews its import- 
ance in the case of this one all over the stormy countries 
which it inhabits. 

This breed does not seem to amalgamate very readily with 
other races, so that crossing has not generally been success- 
ful as a means of permanent improvement. It has been 
frequently crossed by the Cheviot, but the descendants have 
been found inferior in weight, form, and quality of wool, to 
the pure Cheviots, and to the Black-faced Heath Breed in 
hardiness and aptitude to thrive in an upland country of 
heaths. But as it is not always deemed safe to change a 
stock of Sheep habituated to their locality, the practice of a 
continued crossing with the Cheviot, until the flock has 
acquired the characters of the latter, has been sometimes 
adopted, so that the original Black-faced stock has become in 
time almost Cheviot. Another species of crossing has been 
remarkably successful, namely, the employing of males of the 
Leicester or South Down breeds for a first cross. The lambs, 
the result of this mixture, are excellent, rising to a much 
.greater weight than those of the pure Black-faced blood. 
Great numbers of this mixed race are now produced, and an 
increased source of profit is thus opened to breeders by the 
sale of their young Sheep. Of these crosses, the best has 


been found to be with the Leicesters. That with the South- 
downs produces very handsome Sheep, having perfectly black 
faces and legs, and a close good fleece ; but they scarcely 
attain the size of the Leicester crosses, and the latter ac- 
cordingly are preferred for the special purpose for which 
this species of breeding is designed. 

Seeing the large tract of country which is occupied by 
this breed, it is of great importance toamprove it to the de- 
gree to which it is susceptible. This, as in other cases, may 
be done by due selection of the breeding parents, and by 
rearing the animals under circumstances favourable to the 
full development of their forms. By adopting this practice, 
we have in every case the means of improving a breed of 
Sheep. Adequate nourishment is essential to the enlarge- 
ment of size ; and all the properties of form, which consist 
with the character of the race, may be communicated and 
rendered permanent by a due attention to breeding. The 
wool of this breed being of small comparative value, the at- 
tention of improvers may be mainly directed to the carcass. 
By attending to the roundness of the trunk and breadth of 
the chest, we not only produce animals which more readily 
fatten, but which are more hardy ; for in the case of all 
breeds, it is found that narrow-chested and flat- sided ani- 
mals are less vigorous, and more subject to diseases, than 
such as have the body round and the chest wide. 

It is painful, however, to state, that this breed, so widely 
diffused, has been treated with comparative neglect. Vari- 
ous breeders have distinguished themselves by their atten- 
tion to the form of the animals, and have reaped the reward 
in the superior character of their stock ; but, over the wide 
tract of country which the breed occupies, it is far inferior in 
economical value to that to which, by due attention, it might 
arrive. Breeders would find it for their interest to procure 
rams from the southern counties of Scotland, and from the 
stocks of the breeders whose farms are good, and who have 
paid the most attention to the character of their stock. 


The Black-faced Heath Breed, after having displaced the 
former races of a large tract of country, has itself, in the 
natural course of improvement, been giving way to another 
mountain breed of different characters. This is the breed 
of the Cheviot mountains, likewise derived from a high and 
stormy country, but reared under circumstances more favour- 
able with respect to the supplies of food, possessing fine and 
not coarse wool, and cultivated with greater attention on the 
breeding farms. But the hardier Heath Breed is still the 
more suitable to a great extent of country, where the preva- 
lent herbage is heath, and still therefore merits the careful 
attention of a numerous class of breeders. 


The Cheviot Breed of Sheep is derived from a district of por- 
phyry, situated in the north of Northumberland, and extend- 
ing into Scotland, forming the mountains termed Cheviot. 
These mountains are in contact with the rugged country of 
heath, which has been seen to be the habitat of the Black- 
faced Breed ; But the true Cheviot district is limited in extent, 
and differs greatly in its character from the heathy wastes 
adjoining. It is composed of a range of beautiful mountains 
tending to the conical, and mostly covered with grasses, ferns, 
wild thyme, and other plants distinctive of trap, often to the 
very summit. They are frequently in contact at their bases, 
or separated from one another by narrow valleys. While 
they pass on one side into the district of heaths, they are 
connected on the other with a rich cultivated country. Their 
highest summit is 2658 feet above the level of the sea, and 
they are frequently capped with snow long after it has dis- 
appeared from the lower grounds. 

This district has produced, from time immemorial, a race 
of Sheep entirely distinct in its characters from the Wild 


Heath Breed of the elevated moors adjoining. The Cheviot 
Sheep are destitute of horns in the male and female : their 
faces and legs are white, exceptions merely occurring in the 
case of individuals in which these parts are dun. The body 
is very closely covered with wool, which is short and suffi- 
ciently fine for the making of certain cloths. The two shear- 
wethers, when fat, may weigh, on a medium, from sixteen to 
eighteen pounds the quarter, though with great differences, 
dependent on the natural productiveness of the pastures, and 
the method of treatment when young. The ewes are usually 
reckoned to weigh from twelve to fourteen pounds the quarter, 
though with such differences as depend on the nature of the 
soil and pastures, and the method of treatment. The mutton 
of these sheep is very good, though inferior in delicacy to that 
of the South Down and Welsh Sheep, and in flavour to that of 
the Black-faced Heath Breed. Their natural form is, like that 
of all mountain breeds, with a light fore-quarter ; but this cha- 
racter is removed by the effects of breeding, and the modern 
Cheviots are of good form. The body is somewhat longer 
than is usually the case with the Heath Breed, which has 
given rise to the popular distinction, in districts where both 
breeds are cultivated, of Long and Short Sheep. They are 
larger in the lower countries, where a supply of turnips can 
be given : they are lighter in the more elevated tracts, where 
artificial food is scanty, or wanting. The breeders adopt the 
kind of animal which is suited to the pastures, preferring a 
short-legged larger Sheep for the lower farms, and one of 
lighter and more agile form for the more upland and colder. 
The Cheviot Sheep are of quiet habits, possessing, indeed, 
the independence of a mountain race, but having none of the 
indocility which distinguishes some other races. They are 
exceedingly hardy, their close covering of fine wool enabling 
them to resist the extremes of cold. They feed more on the 
grasses, and less on the shoots of heath, than the Black-faced 
Breed, and hence they are less adapted to a country of entire 


heath, and require a larger range of pastures to support an 
equal number of animals. 

The Cheviot Sheep have spread from their native mountains 
to a large extent of country. They now cover a great part of 
the elevated moors from which the Black-faced Heath Sheep 
were derived. They have spread over the southern moun- 
tains of Scotland, supplanting to a great extent the Heath 
Breed, which previously existed. They have been carried be- 
yond the Grampians to the extreme north of Scotland, where 
they are reared in increasing numbers. To the late Sir John 
Sinclair is due the honour of having first carried them to 
the county of Caithness. But in some cases they have been 
placed in situations to which the coarser Heath Breed would 
have been better adapted, and many farmers, after experi- 
ence of the effect, have reverted to the ancient race. The 
breed, however, has a greatly more extensive range than has 
yet been assigned to it ; for it is evident that the Cheviot, 
like every breed of Sheep, has the property of adapting itself 
to the country in which it is naturalized. Thus, the Sheep 
which are reared in the north of Scotland must give birth to 
a hardier race than is produced in the lower mountains of the 
south ; and thus we may expect to see the range of the breed 
gradually extended, and narrowing the bounds occupied by 
the coarser Black-faced. The extension that has already 
taken place of this hardy breed, must be regarded as having 
been of singular benefit to breeders and the country. It has 
been recently carried to the west of England and Wales, and 
has every where been found suited to a cold and mountain- 
ous country. In its native country of the Cheviot Hills, it 
has been cultivated with great care by a class of breeders 
inferior to none in the kingdom for intelligence and enter- 
prise ; and thus breeders from every part of the kingdom 
have the power of resorting to the native districts of the 
breed, for the means of maintaining their stocks in a state of 

The wool of this breed weighs about three and a half pounds 


the fleece. It formerly used to be employed for the making 
of cloths ; but, from the extensive employment of the Merino 
wool of Saxony and Spain, it is now scarcely employed for 
this purpose, and is prepared by the process of combing in 
place of carding, for the coarser manufactures. The atten- 
tion of breeders, too, having been mainly directed to the fat- 
tening properties of the animal, the wool has diminished in 
fineness, though it has increased in length and weight. Its 
quality varies somewhat with the pastures, being finer where 
the shorter grasses prevail, and coarser where the herbage is 
rough and heathy. 

The management of the Cheviot resembles that of the 
Black-faced Heath Sheep ; but as, for the most part, they 
occupy a lower range of mountains, better means exist of sup- 
plying them with food during the inclement season of winter. 

They are suffered to range over the grounds assigned to 
them, and their artificial food is only subsidiary to the natural 
herbage of the farm. It is supplied chiefly during falls of 
snow, and consists either of the hay of the cultivated grasses 
or clovers, where this can be obtained, or is the produce of 
the swamps and perennial meadows of the farm. When tur- 
nips can be produced, these likewise are supplied at the fit- 
ting times. The breeder of these Sheep, as in the case of 
the Black-faced Heath Breed, is not necessarily the person 
who feeds them for ultimate use. He rears them to a cer- 
tain age, and then transfers them to those whose farms enable 
them to bring them to the required maturity. This consti- 
tutes the great traffic between the farmers of the higher and 
lower country, and is a fitting division of labour and employ- 
ment. Sometimes, indeed, the breeder of these Sheep, by 
possessing low and cultivated ground, or otherwise, is en- 
abled to combine the practices of rearing and fattening ; but 
the essential destination of the higher farms is the rearing 
and not the fattening of stock, and the two occupations, 
though they may be combined, are essentially distinct. The 
stock often passes through several intervening graziers and 



feeders, before it is fattened for ultimate use. In general, 
the Cheviot Sheep are fattened at an earlier age than the 
Black-faced Heath Sheep, partly on account of the greater 
precocity of the animals, but chiefly on account of the supe- 
rior treatment which they receive when young. The Cheviot 
breeder may sell his Sheep in the first year when hoggets, 
but very generally in the second year, either when they re- 
tain their fleece and are still hoggets, or after they are 
divested of their fleece and are shearlings, or, in the lan- 
guage of the northern farmer, dinmonts and gimmers. They 
are rarely fattened when shearlings, the usual period being 
after they have lost their second fleece, and are wethers. The 
ewes, after having borne lambs for several years, generally 
three, are sold, and their place supplied by the younger 
females reared on the farm, which at that time are in the 
autumn of the second year, and about nineteen months 

The rams are usually admitted to the ewes about the 
20th of November, so that the season of lambing may com- 
mence in the early part of April. One ram is assigned to 
sixty ewes. 

The ewes, during the period of gestation, feed on the 
natural pastures of the farm, but, on the falling of heavy 
snows, receive a supply of hay, which may be spread upon 
the surface. But the Sheep have a wonderful faculty of 
collecting their food, even when all the ground is covered, 
by scraping away the snow with their feet, and they prefer 
this natural food to the dried provender. When turnips as 
well as hay are produced on the farm, the ewes receive them 
likewise during falls of snow ; but it is especially at the 
period of lambing, and during its continuance, that this spe- 
cies of food is supplied. 

When the period of lambing arrives, all the vigilance of 
the shepherds is required. Sometimes the ewes are so en- 
feebled by want of food, and the inclemency of the weather, 
that they have not milk sufficient to nourish their young, and 



then the maternal feeling seems to become extinct. But this 
latter accident is of partial occurrence, and it is rare that the 
mothers altogether abandon their young. Sometimes the 
lambs, at their birth, are so weak that they cannot rise from 
the ground, and thus perish. In such cases, the shepherd is 
at hand to assist the young to the teat, and often he takes 
the ewe with her young to a place of shelter, where they can 
be more carefully tended. When a ewe dies, and it is wished 
to give her lamb to one that has lost her own young, or when 
a ewe has twins, and it is wished to give one of them to be 
suckled by another whose own lamb has perished, some art 
is often required to induce the ewe to adopt the stranger. 
The most common method is to confine them together to a 
narrow space, holding the lamb to the teat until it has been 
suckled. In certain cases, when the lamb of any ewe has 
perished, its skin is taken off and put on the lamb to be 
adopted. The ewe, deceived by the smell of her own off- 
spring, suffers herself to be sucked, and from that time for- 
ward adopts the little orphan, and treats it with all the kind- 
ness of the natural parent. It is of painful interest to see a 
ewe, whose lamb has perished, mourning over its little one, 
and refusing to leave it or be comforted. If the dead body 
is dragged along the ground, the poor mother will follow it 
even into the cot of the shepherd, fiercely driving away the 
dogs or sheep that approach it. Even when the ewes them- 
selves are in the agonies of death, they will be seen calling 
piteously to their young ones, and offering them the last store 
of milk with which Nature has furnished them. When the 
ewes have twins, and thus have two lambs to nurse, it is 
usual to give them a more liberal supply of food. It is held 
to be convenient to have an enclosure of early grass near the 
place of lambing or the shepherd's cottage, to which ewes 
with twins, such as have too little milk, and such as are sick 
and infirm, or from any cause require more careful attend- 
ance than the rest of the flock, may be taken. Though va- 
rious ewes produce twins, it is regarded as a favourable cir- 



cumstance in the case of this class of Sheep, in the more 
mountain districts, when one lamb can be reared for each 
ewe of the flock. It is thought to be well when eighteen or 
nineteen lambs can be brought up for every twenty ewes. 

The time of shearing these Sheep is from the middle of 
June to the beginning of July. The precise period is denoted 
by the wool being fully grown, and separating readily from 
the skin when pulled. The Sheep are first washed, which 
is done by men standing in the pool, and washing each Sheep 
separately, or more generally, when the flock is large, by 
causing them to swim two or three times through the water 
to the opposite bank. After being washed, they are kept as 
much as possible on ground where they can be prevented from 
rubbing on banks, or otherwise soiling their wool. In two 
days, if there be no rain, they are shorn, but it is generally 
thought better to wait seven or eight days, in which case the 
unctuous secretion which protects the wool has again been 
formed. As soon as each Sheep is shorn, it is usually marked 
with a stamp dipped in boiling tar thickened with pitch. The 
mark is made on different parts of the body, as the near 
shoulder, the far shoulder, the near haunch, the far haunch, 
so that the different kinds and ages of the Sheep may be 
known at a glance. 

Soon after shearing the ewes, the lambs are weaned, which 
is simply effected by a short separation of them from the 
dams. The lambs are now, in the language of farmers, hog- 
gets or hogs, under the respective denominations of tup-hogs, 
wether-hogs, and ewe-hogs. The tup-hogs intended for use 
upon the farm or sale, and such of the ewe-hogs as are designed 
for receiving the male in the following year, are retained. 
The remainder of the ewe-hogs, and all the wether-hogs, are 
either now disposed of, or kept throughout the winter and 
sold in the following year, either, as has been observed, pre- 
vious to the period of shearing, when they are still hogs, or 
after having lost their fleece, when they are dinmonts and 


gimmers. Sometimes they are kept until they have yielded 
a second fleece. All the old ewes which have borne the re- 
quired number of lambs are disposed of before winter, and 
not only such ewes as are old, but such as are of bad form, 
or which it is wished for any cause to get rid of. The hogs 
which are retained are treated in the same manner as the 
breeding ewes, except that it is common to put them on 
some grassy and sheltered part of the farm where they can 
be best pastured. They receive hay in falls of snow, and, if 
possible, turnips are supplied to them during the whole win- 
ter, which may be done at the rate of a cart-load per day for 
every seven or eight scores. 

The practice of smearing the skins before winter with tar, 
was formerly in more general use in the case of this breed 
of Sheep than it has since become. It is now chiefly con- 
fined to the- more elevated districts, or the more northern 
counties. The disuse of the practice has arisen, not on ac- 
count of any experience of its inefficiency as a preservative 
to the health of the animals, but on account of the injury to 
the quality of the wool, occasioned by the tarry ingredient. 
On this account, substitutes for the tar are now very gene- 
rally employed. These are, olive oil mixed with turpentine, 
impure naphtha, commonly called spirits of tar, or other 
substances, which serve the purpose of destroying vermin 
and removing cutaneous affections, but which are scarcely 
so efficient for preserving health as the old mixture. 

In the modern management of these Sheep, a principle 
observed is to suffer them as much as possible to pasture 
undisturbed. On this account the dividing of the stock of 
the farm into a number of flocks or hirsels, to each of which 
is assigned a certain range of pasturage, is much less used 
than formerly. The practice of folding Sheep at night, for 
the purpose of manuring parts of the farm, is now abandoned 
by all who are conversant with the proper management of 
this kind of Sheep. The practice, too, of milking the ewes 



for several weeks after the lambs are weaned, is now very 
much given up, experience shewing, that the exhaustion and 
disturbance of ewes render them less fitted to withstand the 
privations and severities of winter, and to nourish their 
young when the season of parturition arrives. It is usual, 
however, to milk the ewes after weaning for a few days, so 
as to run them dry by degrees. In cases where the practice 
of milking for several weeks is adopted, the milk is churned 
for the use of the farm; and twenty ewes will yield five 
pounds of butter in the week. 

The number of Sheep assigned to the care of one shepherd 
is from 400 to 500. When the flock consists wholly of ewes, 
this number is as much as one man can conveniently manage, 
but when the flock consists of hoggets and shearlings, one 
shepherd may manage 700 or 800. An average allowance 
for one shepherd is 400 ewes and 200 hoggets. 

To the shepherd of these mountainous countries, the ser- 
vices of the Dog are indispensable. Without this faithful 
creature, his individual labour would be insufficient to collect 
the animals from distant parts, drive them in flocks, or per- 
form the other innumerable services required. The breed 
of Dogs used in the mountains of Cheviot, and the pastoral 
districts of Scotland, is of small size and homely exterior, 
but adapted in an eminent degree to the services to be per- 
formed. For sagacity and fidelity, these humble Dogs cannot 
be surpassed ; they understand the language of their master, 
and almost seem to divine his thoughts. Their whole habits 
seem fashioned to the life they lead. When taken from their 
natural pursuits, their spirit seems to droop, or at least they 
never manifest, in other situations, that matchless sagacity 
which distinguishes them in the occupation of the shepherd 

The entire management of these and the other mountain 
Sheep of the northern part of Britain, has no parallel, it is 
believed, in the same latitudes in Europe. In no other 


country, similarly situated with respect to climate, are the 
Sheep kept so entirely exposed to the inclemencies of the 
weather, without the shelter of pens and houses. The ab- 
sence of Wolves is the cause of that freedom which is allowed 
to these mountain flocks ; and the shepherds have been taught 
by experience, that the animals may be exposed by night as 
well as by day without harm. Were these Sheep managed 
as in other parts of the Continent of Europe, penned and fed 
in houses, and prevented from taking their natural food, the 
mountains of the country could not maintain one-fourth part 
of the present numbers. 

The great desiderata sought for in the elevated countries 
of these mountain Sheep, are the supply of food and shelter 
in winter. The essential food, when the ground is covered 
with snow, is hay ; a field or more being formed, one of which 
is mown annually. Rough boggy ground, producing the 
rushes proper to the situation, as the sharp-flowered jointed 
rush or sprit, is suited for yielding a kind of hay, which, 
though coarse and comparatively innutritious, is eaten by 
the Sheep in the absence of other food. Where irrigation 
is practicable, watered meadows are sometimes constructed, 
affording the cheapest and securest means of supplying pro- 
vender in these elevated countries. In all cases a quantity 
of hay is provided, which should be equal to three months' 
consumption, at the rate of one and a half pound per day 
to the breeding ewes, and one pound to the younger sheep. 
When whins grow naturally, they are preserved, as affording 
not only food but shelter. 

When the pastures consist of rough heath, it is common 
to burn it at intervals of several years, in the early part of 
spring. This, destroying the more shrubby stems, produces 
an increased growth of the more tender shoots. 

Draining is held to be very important in the countries oc- 
cupied by these Sheep. The drains are narrow open trenches, 
a spade's breadth in width. They are carried along the flat 


marshy grounds, or along the declivities of hills, wherever 
water may stagnate. They are designed to allow a speedy 
egress to water on the surface, and the effect is to improve 
the pastures, and lessen the tendency to the dangerous malady 
of rot. 

When land exists capable of cultivation, the resources of 
food may be greatly extended, for then turnips as well as 
hay can be supplied. But an error, too common in such dis- 
tricts, should be avoided, of ploughing more land than is 
required for the ends proposed. The purpose of tillage in 
such situations is the raising of turnips and clover hay for 
the supply of the stock ; and this end being attained, the 
farmer ought never to carry his system of tillage further on 
a purely breeding farm. 

In order that the Sheep of these farms may pasture with- 
out disturbance, arid that the labour of the shepherds may 
be abridged, it is held to be highly useful, and even neces- 
sary, that each farm be enclosed. The suitable fence for 
such situations is the stone wall, for the forming of which 
ample materials are for the most to be found on the grounds. 
This species of wall is formed of stones without the aid of 
lime, about five feet in height. Sods are sometimes used in 
place of stones ; but the fences are greatly less permanent 
and useful, and ought never to be formed where better mate- 
rials exist. 

The uses and value of shelter in countries so elevated and 
exposed are everywhere recognised. When natural valleys 
and glens exist, these are taken advantage of to shelter the 
flock from the piercing storms of the inclement season. In 
such cases, the shepherd himself drives his flock to the places 
which afford shelter, and the Sheep of their own accord be- 
take themselves to the natural coverts of the farm. But 
though the instincts of the animals will cause them to avoid 
a coming tempest, by repairing to the lee sides of eminences 
for shelter, these are the very situations in which they may 
be overwhelmed by heavy falls of snow, which, when accom- 


panied by winds, sometimes fill up all the hollows in a few 
hours. These accidents occasionally occur, and so sudden 
and violent is the storm, that whole flocks of Sheep are buried 
under masses of snow. Nay, sometimes the shepherds 
themselves, in their attempts to discover and save the scat- 
tered flocks, are bewildered and suffocated in the tempest. 

It is regarded as of high importance, then, not only to 
provide shelter against the piercing blasts of these elevated 
countries, but to afford places of refuge to the stock in cases 
of danger. Plantations of wood are always found to be be- 
neficial in these mountain farms, and when the means exist 
of rearing wood, may be formed with profit. They should be 
of the size of not less than four or five acres, so that the trees 
may shelter one another, and formed with salient angles, so 
that the Sheep may have shelter from whatever point the 
wind may blow. They are enclosed with stone walls, so that 
the trees may be protected from the inroads of the Sheep. 
The wild pine and spruce are found to be the best suited for 
the purpose, though the larch will grow in situations more 
elevated. But wood cannot always be cultivated in situa- 
tions so bleak and exposed, and a simple substitute is adopted. 
This is a small enclosure, termed a Stell, capable of contain- 
ing a flock of Sheep. It consists of a dry-stone wall, six feet 
high, and is usually circular, with a narrow opening, and 
may be made of a size to contain 200 Sheep or more. Into 
these places of refuge the Sheep are driven when occasion 
requires. They are thus protected from danger, and a stack 
of hay being placed at the entrance, or within the enclosure, 
they may be fed during the continuance of the snow. A 
sufficient number of these stells being placed in suitable 
situations, there exist places of security, to which the Sheep 
on different parts of the farm may be promptly conveyed. 

No words can convey to those who have never witnessed 
the scene, an idea of the terrible effect of the winter storms 
which ravage these alpine regions. In an amusing series of 
Tales, by James Hogg, commonly known as the Etterick 


Shepherd, graphic descriptions are given of the scenes of 
desolation which sometimes present themselves, and of which 
the memory survives from generation to generation in the 
traditionary annals of the shepherds. Of one of these, fami- 
liarly termed the Thirteen Drifty Days, he thus speaks from 
tradition : 

" It is said, that for thirteen days and nights the snow- 
drift never once abated : the ground was covered with frozen 
snow when it commenced, and during all the time of its con- 
tinuance, the Sheep never broke their fast. The cold was in- 
tense to a degree never before remembered ; and about the 
fifth and sixth days of the storm, the young Sheep began to 
fall into a sleepy and torpid state, and all that were so affected 
in the evening died over-night. .The intensity of the frost- 
wind often cut them off, when in that state, quite instanta- 
neously. About the ninth and tenth days, the shepherds be- 
gan to build up huge semicircular walls of their dead, in 
order to afford some shelter for the living remainder ; but 
such shelter availed little, for about the same time the want 
of food began to be felt so severely, that they were frequently 
seen tearing one another's wool with their teeth. When the 
storm abated, on the fourteenth day from its commencement, 
there was on many a high-lying farm not a living sheep to be 
seen. Large misshapen walls of dead, surrounding a small 
prostrate flock, likewise all dead, and frozen stiff in their lairs, 
were all that remained to the forlorn shepherd and his mas- 
ter ; and though on low-lying farms, where the snow was not 
so hard before the tempest began, "numbers of sheep weathered 
the storm, yet their constitutions received such a shock, that 
the greater part of them perished afterwards ; and the final 
consequence was, that about nine-tenths of all the sheep in 
the south of Scotland were destroyed. In the extensive pas- 
toral district of Eskdale-muir, which maintains upwards of 
20,000 sheep, it is said none were left alive, but forty young 
wethers on one farm, and five old ewes on another. The 
farm of Phaup remained without a stock and without a ten- 


ant for twenty years after the storm ; and when at length 
one very honest and liberal-minded man ventured to take a 
lease of it, it was at the annual rent of * a great-coat and a 
pair of hose !' It is now rented at L.500 a-year. An ex- 
tensive glen in Tweedsmuir, now belonging to Sir James 
Montgomery of Stanhope, became a common at that time, to 
which any man drove his flocks that pleased, arid it continued 
so for nearly a century." 

He continues : " The years 1709, 1740, and 1772, were 
likewise all years notable for severity, and for the losses sus- 
tained among the flocks of sheep. In the latter, the snow 
lay from the middle of December until the middle of April, 
and was all that time hard frozen. Partial thaws always 
kept the farmer's hopes of relief alive, and thus prevented 
him from removing his sheep to a lower situation, till at 
length they grew so weak that they could not be removed. 
There has not been such a general loss in the days of any 
man living as in that year." 

" But of all the storms that ever Scotland witnessed, or I 
hope ever will again behold, there is none of them that can 
once be compared with that of the memorable night between 
Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of January 1794. 
This storm fell with peculiar violence on that division of the 
South of Scotland that lies between Crawford-muir and the 
Border. In these bounds seventeen shepherds perished, and 
upwards of thirty were carried home insensible, who after- 
wards recovered. The number of sheep that were lost far 
outwent any possibility of calculation. Whole flocks were 
overwhelmed with snow, and no one ever knew where they 
were till the snow was dissolved, and they were all found 
dead. I myself witnessed one particular instance of this, on 
the farm of Thickside : there were twelve scores of excellent 
ewes, all one age, that were missing all the time that the 
snow lay, which was only a week, and no traces of them 
could be found ; when the snow went away, they were dis- 
covered all lying dead, with their heads one way, as if a flock 


of sheep had dropped dead going from the washing. Many 
hundreds were driven into waters, burns, and lakes, by the 
violence of the storm, where they were buried or frozen up, 
and these the flood carried away, so that they were never 
seen or found by the owners at all. The greater part of the 
rivers on which the storm was most deadly run into the Sol- 
way Frith, on which there is a place called the Beds of Esk, 
where the tide throws out, and leaves, whatever is carried 
into it by the rivers. When the flood after the storm sub- 
sided, there were found on that place, and the shores adjacent, 
one thousand eight hundred and forty sheep, nine black cattle, 
three horses, two men, one woman, forty-five dogs, and one 
hundred and eighty hares, besides a number of meaner ani- 

After describing his return from a distant excursion through 
the mountains, and certain presages of a coming storm, he 
continues : 

" I then went to my bed in the byre-loft, where I slept with 
a neighbour shepherd, named Borthwick ; but though fatigued 
with walking through the snow, I could not close an eye, so 
that I heard the first burst of the storm, which commenced 
between one and two, with a fury that no one can conceive 
who does not remember it. Besides, the place where I lived 
being exposed to two or three ' gathered winds,' as they are 
called by shepherds, the storm raged there with redoubled 
fury. It began all at once, with such a tremendous roar, that 
I imagined it was a peal of thunder, until I felt the house 
trembling to its foundation. In a few minutes I thrust my 
naked arm through a hole in the roof, in order, if possible, to 
ascertain what was going on without, for not a ray of light 
could I see. I could not then, nor can I yet, express my 
astonishment : so completely was the air overloaded with 
falling and driving snow, that, but for the force of the wind, 
I felt as if I had thrust my arm into a wreath of snow. I 
deemed it a judgment sent from Heaven upon us, and went 
to bed again, trembling with agitation. 5 ' " I kept my bed 


for about three quarters of an hour longer ; and then 
rose, and on reaching the house with much difficulty, found 
our master, the ploughman, Borthwick, and the two servant 
maids, sitting round the kitchen fire, with looks of dismay, I 
may almost say despair. We all agreed at once, that the 
sooner we were able to reach the sheep, the better chance 
we had to save a remnant ; and as there were eight hundred 
excellent ewes, all in one lot, but a long way distant, and 
the most valuable lot of any on the farm, we resolved to 
make a bold effort to reach them. Our master made family 
worship, a duty he never neglected ; but that morning the 
manner in which he expressed our trust and confidence in 
Heaven, was particularly affecting. We took our breakfast 
filled our pockets with bread and cheese sewed our plaids 
around us tied down our hats with napkins coming below 
our chins and each taking a strong staff in his hand, we 
set out on the attempt. 

" No sooner was the door closed behind us than we lost 
sight of each other : seeing there was none it was impos- 
sible for a man to see his hand held up before him and it 
was still two hours till day. We had no means of keeping to- 
gether but by following to one another's voices, nor of work- 
ing our way save by groping before us with our staves. It 
soon appeared to me a hopeless concern, for, ere ever we got 
clear of the houses and hay-stacks, we had to roll ourselves 
over two or three wreaths which it was impossible to wade 
through ; and all the while the wind and drift were so violent, 
that every three or four minutes we were obliged to hold our 
faces down between our knees to recover our breath. We 
soon got into an eddying wind that was altogether insuffer- 
able, and, at the same time, we were struggling among snow 
so deep, that our progress in the way we proposed going was 
very equivocal indeed, for we had by this time lost all idea 
of east, west, north, or south. Still we were as busy as men 
determined on an enterprize of moment could be, and perse- 
vered on we knew not whither, sometimes rolling over the 


snow, and sometimes weltering in it up to the chin. The fol- 
lowing instance of our successful exertions marks our pro- 
gress to a tittle : There was an enclosure around the house 
to the westward, which we denominated ' the Park,' as was 
customary in Scotland at that period, and in that quarter, 
where a farm seldom boasted more than one enclosed piece 
of ground. When we went away we calculated that it was 
two hours until day ; the park did not extend above three 
hundred yards ; and we were still engaged in it when day- 
light appeared. When we got free of the park, we also got 
free of the eddy of the wind. It was now straight in our 
faces ; we went in a line before each other, and changed 
places every three or four minutes, and at length, after great 
fatigue, reached a long ridge of a hill where the snow was 
thinner, having been blown off by the force of the wind, and 
by this we had hopes of reaching within a short space of the 
ewes, which were still a mile and a half distant. Our master 
had taken the lead ; I was next him, and soon began to sus- 
pect, from the depth of the snow, that he was leading us quite 
wrong ; but, as we always trusted implicitly to the person that 
was foremost for the time, I said nothing for a good while, 
until satisfied that we were going in a direction very nearly 
right opposite to that we intended. I then tried to expostulate 
with him ; but he did not seem to understand what I said; and, 
on getting a glimpse of his countenance, I perceived that it 
was quite altered. Not to alarm the others, nor even him- 
self, I said I was becoming terribly fatigued, and proposed 
that we should lean on the snow, and take each a little 
whisky (for I had brought a small bottle in my pocket, for 
fear of the worst), and some bread and cheese. This was 
unanimously agreed to, and I noted that he swallowed the 
'spirits rather eagerly, a thing not usual with him, and when 
he tried to eat, it was long before he could eat any thing. I 
was convinced that he would fail altogether, but, as it would 
have been easier to have got him to the shepherd's house, 


which was before us, than home again, I made no proposal 
for him to return. On the contrary, I said, if they would trust 
themselves entirely to me, I would engage to lead them to the 
ewes, without going a foot out of the way. The other two 
agreed to this, and acknowledged that they knew not where 
they were ; but he never opened his mouth, nor did he speak 
for two hours thereafter. It had only been a temporary ex- 
haustion, however, for he afterwards recovered, and wrought 
till night as well as any of us ; though he never could recol- 
lect a single circumstance that occurred during that part of 
our way, nor a word that was said, nor of having got any re- 
freshment whatever. About half an hour past ten we reached 
the flock, and just in time to save them." 

Again : " It was now wearing towards mid-day, and there 
were occasionally short intervals in which we could see 
round us for perhaps a score of yards ; but we got only one 
momentary glance of the hills around us all that day. I 
grew quite impatient to be at my own charge, and leaving 
the rest, I went away to them by myself, that is, I went to 
the division that was left far out on the hills, while our mas- 
ter and the ploughman volunteered to rescue those that were 
down on the lower ground. I found mine in miserable cir- 
cumstances ; but, making all possible exertion, I got out 
about one-half of them, which I left in a place of safety, and 
made towards home, for it was beginning to grow dark, 
and the storm was again raging in all its darkness and fury. 
I was not in the least afraid of losing my way, for I knew 
all the declivities of the hills so well, that I could have come 
home with my eyes bound up ; and indeed, long ere I got 
home, they were of no use to me. I was terrified for the 
water (Douglas Burn), for in the morning it was flooded and 
gorged up with snow in a dreadful manner, and I judged that* 
it would be now quite impassable. At length I came to a 
place where I thought the water should be, and fell a-boring 
and groping for it with my long staff. No : I could find no 


water, and began to dread that, in spite of my supposed ac- 
curacy, I had gone wrong. This greatly surprised me, and 
standing still to consider, I looked up towards Heaven, I 
shall not say for what cause, and to my utter amazement 
thought I beheld trees over my head, nourishing abroad over 
the whole sky. I never had seen such an optical delusion 
before ; it was so like enchantment that I knew not what to 
think, but dreaded that some extraordinary thing was coming 
over me, and that I was deprived of my right senses. I con- 
cluded that the storm was a great judgment sent on us for 
our sins, and that this strange phantasy was connected with 
it, an illusion effected by evil spirits. I stood a good while 
in this painful trance ; but at length, on making a bold ex- 
ertion to escape from the fairy vision, I came all at once in 
contact with the Old Tower. Never in my life did I expe- 
rience such a relief; I was not only all at once freed from 
the fairies, but from the dangers of the gorged river. I had 
come over it on some mountain of snow, I knew not how nor 
where, nor do I know to this day. So that, after all, what I 
had seen were trees, and trees of no great magnitude neither ; 
but their appearance to my eyes it is impossible to describe. 
I thought they flourished abroad, not for miles, but for hun- 
dreds of miles, to the utmost verges of the visible heavens. 
Such a day and such a night may the eye of a shepherd never 
again behold!" 

No apology can be due for extracting those passages. 
Had the author never written more than his account of the 
storms of Etterick, he would deserve to be remembered. 
Even if we shall imagine that a little fancy has been mixed 
with the reality of the story, we must feel that the Shepherd 
Boy had really mingled in the scenes which he lived to paint 
so well. One passage more is worthy of note. It refers to 
a faculty known to be possessed by the Dogs of these moun- 
tains, of discovering the Sheep which have been buried be- 
neath the snow. We know that a similar instinct of the 


noble Dogs of St Bernard, is employed to discover the re- 
mains of the perished traveller. 

" Next morning the sky was clear ; but a cold intemperate 
wind still blew from the north. The face of the country was 
entirely altered. The form of every hill was changed, and 
new mountains leaned over every valley. All traces of burns, 
rivers, and lakes, were obliterated." " When we came to 
the ground where the sheep should have been, there was not 
one of them above the snow. Here and there, at a great 
distance from each other, we could perceive the heads or 
horns of stragglers appearing ; and these were easily got 
out ; but when we had collected these few, we could find no 
more. They had been lying all abroad in a scattered state 
when the storm came on, and were covered over just as they 
had been lying. It was on a kind of sloping ground, that 
lay half beneath the wind, and the snow was uniformly from 
six to eight feet deep. Under this the hogs were lying scat- 
tered over at least one hundred acres of heathery ground. 
We went about boring with our long poles, and often did 
not find one hog in a quarter of an hour. But at length a 
white shaggy colly, named Sparkie. that belonged to the 
cowherd boy, seemed to have comprehended something of 
our perplexity, for we observed him plying and scraping in 
the snow with great violence, and always looking over his 
shoulder for us. On going to the spot, we found that he had 
marked straight above a sheep. From that he flew to ano- 
ther, and so on to another, as fast as we could dig them out, 
and ten times faster, for he sometimes had twenty or thirty 
holes marked beforehand." 

Although these dreadful tempests occur but occasionally, 
bad seasons, that is, seasons in which the ground is covered 
for a long period with frozen snow, are common, and never 
fail to affect, in a serious manner, the health and condition 
of the flock. When they take place at the period of lamb- 
ing, great numbers of the young creatures perish, notwith- 
standing every care on the part of the shepherds. 


The Cheviot Breed, naturalized in countries so cold and 
tempestuous, and spreading over so large a tract of country, 
must be seen to be of the highest economical importance. 
The attention of agriculturists, in the district proper to the 
breed, has been skilfully directed to its improvement. Su- 
perior feeding has had the effect of enlarging the size of the 
animals, and increasing the produce of wool ; but the wool, 
as was before observed, has become less fine, and has almost 
ceased to be used in the manufacture of cloths. It has, 
therefore, become the interest of breeders to direct attention 
to the improvement of the form of the animals, holding the 
quality of the wool to be a secondary consideration. Never- 
theless, to this extent, attention to the wool is proper : a fine 
and close fleece indicates constitutional hardiness in the in- 
dividuals, and should therefore be carefully attended to as a 
character in the breeding parents. 

The Cheviot Breed amalgamates readily with the Leices- 
ter ; and a system of breeding has been extensively intro- 
duced for producing the first cross of this descent. The 
rams employed are of the pure Leicester breed; and the 
progeny is superior in size, weight of wool, and tendency to 
fatten, to the native Cheviot. The lambs of this descent are 
sometimes disposed of to the butcher, and sometimes fed 
until they are shearlings, when they can be rendered as fat 
as the parent Leicesters, and not much inferior in weight ; 
and further, they can be raised to maturity under less favour- 
able conditions of soil and herbage than the Leicester. The 
benefit, however, may be said to end with the first cross, 
and the progeny of this mixed descent is greatly inferior to 
the pure Cheviot in hardiness of constitution. The system 
is attended with considerable profit in many cases. The 
danger is, that it may insensibly produce a mixture of the 
Leicester blood on the breeding farms. Even this may an- 
swer peculiar situations ; but there cannot be a question 
that, for general cultivation in the high and tempestuous 
countries to which the Cheviot breed is adapted, the race 



should be preserved in its native purity. Every mixture of 
stranger blood has been found to lessen that character of 
hardiness which is the distinguishing character of the race. 
The beautiful breed of the South Downs would seem to be of 
all others that which is best adapted to improve the Cheviot ; 
and yet the experiments that have hitherto been made have 
shewn, that the mixed progeny is inferior to the native 
Cheviot, in its adaptation to a country of cold and humid 

The Cheviot Breed, it has been seen, has been gradually 
extending throughout the mountainous parts of Scotland. It 
has penetrated southward in the part of the central chain of 
elevated moors from which the Heath Breed has been derived. 
It might be yet greatly more extended in this direction, and 
supersede many of the flocks of ill-formed animals which in- 
habit this range. It has been carried to Wales, to the high 
lands of Dartmoor and Exmoor, and in small numbers into 
Cornwall. In all these cases it has been found superior to 
the native races. It has even been carried by settlers to the 
boundless wastes of New South Wales ; but the suitable 
breed for that country, in which the wool alone is of value, is 
the Merino, although, as we shall afterwards have occasion 
to see, some of the Long-woolled Breeds may, with advantage, 
be transported to this magnificent Colony. 


A remarkable variety of Sheep, usually termed the Old 
Norfolk Breed, occupies the higher lands of Norfolk, Suffolk, 
and Cambridge. These Sheep, once very numerous in the 
heathy districts of this part of England, are a wild and hardy 
race, well fitted for a country of scanty herbage. Both sexes 
are armed with horns, which, in the male, are thick and spiral. 
Their limbs are long and muscular, their bodies are long, 
and their general form betokens activity and strength. They, 


accordingly, have been regarded as well-fitted for distant 
journeys, and for bearing the rough treatment of the fold. 
They hold their necks erect, and, in their carriage, resemble 
Antelopes. Their faces and legs are covered with short black 
hair : their wool weighs from two and a half to four pounds 
the fleece, is fine and silky, and possesses sufficient felting 
properties to fit it for being made into second or livery cloths. 
It formerly brought a high relative price in the market ; but, 
in consequence of the increased use of the finer wools of Spain 
and Saxony in the manufacture of superior cloths, the wool 
of this, as of the numerous other breeds which formerly pro- 
duced short or clothing wools, has declined in value. 

These Sheep have much of the aspect of the Black-faced 
Heath Breed, but differ from that race in their longer body 
and limbs, and in the characters of the fleece ; their wool 
not being harsh and wiry, as in the case of the Heath Breed, 
but soft, and suited for felting. The softness of their fleece 
gives them some affinity with the Southdowns ; but they 
differ from that race in their robuster form, and in their 
bolder, wilder, and more restless habits. We must suppose 
that the characters of this breed have been acquired from 
peculiarities in the soil and climate of the district which it 
inhabits. This tract is calcareous, sandy, and naturally pro- 
ductive of heaths, with hard and wiry grasses. Being obliged 
to traverse extensive tracts to procure sufficiency of food, the 
animals have become active and muscular ; and the country 
they inhabit being somewhat elevated, and exposed to dry 
easterly winds, they are furnished with a fleece sufficiently 
close to defend them from the chill breezes, without having 
that long coat of wool which is needed in situations more 
humid and mountainous. Inhabiting, too, a country in which 
chalk, and the detritus of chalk, exist, the wool has acquired 
that fineness which generally characterizes other races accli- 
mated in calcareous districts. This breed must be referred 
to the same general type as the Black-faced Heath Breed ; 
and we may believe, that the characters which distinguish it 


are such as the Black-faced Heath Breed would itself, in the 
course of ages, assume in a lower country of chalk and heath. 

These Sheep were greatly esteemed in the districts which 
produced them, and were spread over a large tract of coun- 
try. Their mutton was, and still is, held in high estimation ; 
and they were valued by the butchers for producing a large 
proportion of internal 'fat, and by the farmers for their adap- 
tation to the husbandry of the fold. They were long the 
prevailing breed of Norfolk and Suffolk ; but, as improve- 
ments extended, they became more confined to the higher 
grounds, and animals of more docile habits and superior fat- 
tening properties supplied their place in the cultivated coun- 
try. Other causes, also, have contributed to lessen the num- 
bers of this breed, and limit its range. With the more im- 
proved races, these wilder sheep produce admirable first 
crosses, either for being killed as lambs, or when of an older 
age. The ewes prove excellent nurses, and give birth to a 
robust progeny ; and no finer lambs are brought to the Eng- 
lish markets than the first crosses between them and the 
Leicester or South Down rams. This circumstance produces 
a gradual intermixture with the blood of other varieties, and 
a progressive diminution of the numbers of the pure race. 
To such a degree has this intermixture taken place, that the 
perfectly pure Norfolk Breed is now becoming rare, and, if 
breeders have not inducements afforded them to preserve it, 
will soon cease to be found. It is to be observed, that the 
greater number of Sheep now brought to the markets of Lon- 
don under the name of Norfolks, are crosses, or the offspring 
of crosses, especially with the Southdowns. 

The Old Norfolk is thus sharing the fate of the various 
Forest and other breeds of this country, by giving place to 
races of superior value with respect to the power of arriving 
at earlier maturity of muscle and fatness. A certain feeling 
of regret may perhaps exist, that a race possessing many 
good properties, should have been extinguished rather than 
improved. That the Old Norfolk was, like every other breed 


of Sheep, susceptible of an essential change of characters, 
cannot be doubted. While it might still have retained its 
property of hardiness and robustness, the too great length of 
the limbs, the flatness and lankness of the body, and, with 
the change of external form, the too great wildness of tem- 
per, might have been corrected, as in the case of every other 
race of Sheep to which the care of the breeder has been 
directed. But few breeders appear to have thought the Nor- 
folk so deserving of preservation and improvement, as to have 
deemed it necessary to apply to it those principles of breed- 
ing which have been successfully applied to other races. 
Very lately, indeed, the matter has occupied the attention of 
the possessors of the few unmixed flocks which remain ; but, 
unless these gentlemen are seconded by more extensive sup- 
port than they have yet received, it is to be believed that this 
ancient race will, at no distant time, be merged in others which 
have acquired a higher value by the care of the breeder. 

The breed which of all others has the most trenched upon 
the domains of the ancient Norfolk is the South Down. This 
admirable breed has not only occupied districts formerly pos- 
sessed by the Norfolk, but has been largely used to cross the 
latter ; and experience has shewn, that these crosses are su- 
perior in form, though not in weight, to those of the Leices- 
ter. This is a conclusion which might have been drawn even 
without the aid of experience. The Southdowns, which are 
a short-woolled race, and indigenous to a calcareous country, 
which is also the geological character of the country of the 
Nor folks, have a greater affinity with the Norfolk s than the 
long-woolled Leicesters and Lincolns, and are therefore bet- 
ter suited to amalgamate with them. It has been seen, on 
the other hand, that the long-woolled Sheep of the plains are 
better fitted to unite with the Welsh, the Dartmoor, and Ex- 
moor, than the fine-woolled Southdowns ; illustrating a prin- 
ciple of breeding too often disregarded, of bringing together 
animals which possess a certain community of characters. 



As connected with the Heath Breeds of the country may 
here be mentioned one of remarkable characters, termed the 
Penistone. This race inhabits a district of the coal forma- 
tion on the confines of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Derbyshire. 
It is found in the higher parts of this district, where a coarse 
heathy herbage prevails, occupying a limited tract of about 
twenty-six miles by twenty. On the slopes of the hills, the 
older breeds merge in the crosses that have been made, 
chiefly with the Leicester. The Sheep are termed Penistone, 
from the market-town of that name, lying a few miles to the 
south of Huddersfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and 
to which they are usually driven for sale. 

These Sheep have wool of a medium length, of a silky ap- 
pearance, but harsh and wiry, and weighing from four to five 
pounds the fleece. They have white faces and legs. The 
rams exceed the size of the ewes and wethers in an unusual 
degree ; a peculiarity which is ascribed to their being taken to 
the lower country to be reared. The rams alone have horns, 
which are very large, lying close to the head, and projecting 
forward. A distinguishing character of this breed is an ex- 
treme coarseness of form, and especially of the extremities. 
The feet are large, the limbs bony, the shoulders heavy, the 
sides flat ; but the most singular characteristic is the length 
and muscularity of the tail, in which respect the Penistone 
Sheep differ from all others in this country. This enlarge- 
ment of the tail is merely muscular and bony, and not at all 
analogous to the growth of fat which takes place in the tails 
of certain Sheep of Eastern countries. The mutton of these 
Sheep is highly valued for its juiciness and flavour. 

The Penistone is manifestly to be referred to the same 
general type as the Black-faced Heath Breed. It approaches 
to this race in the character of its wool, but differs from it in 
its clumsier and less agile form. The individuals are very 


large, but weigh the least perhaps in proportion to their offal 
and bulk of body, of any sheep of this country. 

It may excite surprise that a breed possessing such charac- 
ters should have maintained its place in the centre of Eng- 
land, in the vicinity of some of the most opulent towns, and 
on the borders of districts the most celebrated for their 
breeds of Sheep. The Penistone district is, however, of 
peculiar characters. It is high, yet yields a plentiful coarse 
herbage of heath and intermixed grasses. It is scarcely 
sufficiently fertile, or sufficiently improved, for the Leicesters, 
and is just such a district as would appear to be suited to 
support a coarse race of native Sheep. Farmers have found 
these animals to be hardy, and adapted to the country in 
which they are naturalized, and hence have been disposed to 
overlook their defects. Yet a gentle crossing with more 
improved breeds, might have corrected their more palpable 
defects, without rendering them too fine for their situation. 
It may be expected, however, that this coarse unthrifty breed 
will disappear, either by the effects of crossing, or by the sub- 
stitution of superior varieties. A breed which seems well 
suited for this district, at least so long as it remains in its 
present uncultivated state, is the Cheviot, which is calculated 
to thrive well in a country of heaths with intermixed grasses. 
Cheviot flocks have indeed been introduced into the Peni- 
stone district, but the farmers dislike them on account of their 
smallness of size, not considering that a greater number of 
these smaller sheep could be maintained, and would yield a 
larger produce of mutton with less of offal, on the same space 
of ground. The pure Southdown s would be out of place in 
these rugged pastures, which are not adapted to a race the 
natives of a country of short and fine herbage. Still more 
unsuitable are other breeds which have been employed to 
cross these coarse animals, as, for example, the Ryeland, one 
of the prettiest little breeds in the country, but differing in 
all its characters from the Penistone. 



The Old Wiltshire was a race of Sheep which extended 
over the greater part of the county of Wilts. They were 
the largest of the fine-woolled Sheep of England. Their 
heads were clumsy, and the outline of the face remarkably 
arched. They had horns in the male and female : their legs 
and faces were white ; their wool was very fine, weighing 
about two and a half pounds the fleece : their mutton was of 
tolerable quality, and the wethers, although they fattened 
slowly, arrived at a good size. 

This breed was long regarded as well adapted to the situa- 
tions in which it was reared : its wool was in great request, 
and large numbers of the fattened Sheep were driven to the 
London markets. The breed may be said to be now nearly 
extinct in the pure state, scattered remnants of it only ex- 
isting. It has been entirely superseded by the South Down 
breed, which has either been directly substituted for it, or 
been made to cross it, until its distinctive characters have 
been lost. The vexation was very great of the older farmers 
of Wilts on marking the progress of the Southdowns, and 
the gradual disappearance of the race which they had been 
taught to regard as the best in the kingdom. Some of them 
declared that there would not be a pile of grass in the county 
if these little black-faced Southdowns were allowed to take 
the place of the fine tall Wiltshire. 

The figure of the Old Wiltshire affords an exemplification 
of almost every external character which the breeder wishes 
to avoid. The large coarse head, the flat sides, and the 
length and thickness of the limbs, are very remarkable ; and, 
by comparing these points with the conformation of the 
beautiful race which is now reared in the same district, we 
have an instructive lesson on the proper form of Sheep, and 
on the changes which the care of the breeder can effect. 
The Old Wiltshire breed, however, had become adapted, in a 


remarkable degree, to the conditions, both natural and artifi- 
cial, under which it was reared. The animals lived in a 
country of chalky hills, inland, and not exposed to severities 
of temperature, but unshaded from the sun's rays : the herb- 
age being scanty, they had to move to considerable distances 
to collect their food ; and the practice, from time immemorial, 
had been established, of driving them great distances to and 
from the fold. To these circumstances was adapted an ani- 
mal having a light fleece, with strong muscular limbs, and 
with the habitude of subsisting on scanty herbage. Its fleece 
was not only light, beyond that of any other Sheep in this 
country, but its belly was destitute of wool, a character 
which would not have existed but in the case of a warm dry 
soil, where the animal did not require a coat of wool between 
his belly and the humid earth. The animal, however, which 
had acquired these properties was eminently deficient in 
others which are sought for in the more improved state of 
the Sheep. Subsisting on scanty dry food, he had acquired 
the habitude of fattening slowly ; and the Old Wiltshire, 
though greatly valued by the butchers, was one of the most 
difficult to be fattened of the larger Sheep of England. 
There cannot exist a doubt of the great benefit which accrues 
to individuals and the country, by the substitution of the 
Southdown s for this coarse uncultivated race. It may be 
asked, Could not the Wiltshire Sheep have been improved, 
the faults of their form corrected, their size preserved, and 
the fineness of their fleece maintained ? Beyond a question 
all these purposes could have been effected by the care of 
breeders, directed for a sufficient period to the improvement 
of the animal. But these are labours which would have re- 
quired a generation at least ; and the interest of breeders 
was better served by taking that which was formed to their 
hands, than by waiting the slow improvements of a race so 
radically defective.* 

* In my large Work, a representation is given of the ancient Wiltshire 
Breed unmixed with any other blood, affording perhaps the last record that 


The Wiltshire Breed may be regarded as the type of some 
others which inhabited a portion of the midland chalk coun- 
ties of England until a recent period. The Old Hampshire 
Sheep may be referred to this group. They were horned, 
had the faces and legs white, though in some cases speckled, 
long limbs, and lank bodies. This race has been supplanted 
by the South Down, or so crossed with it, as to have lost its 
original characters. The ancient Sheep of the adjoining 
county of Berks were of two kinds. One had horns, and 
the other was destitute of horns. Both were coarse slowly- 
fattening animals, tall and muscular, with an .arched chaf- 
fron. Their wool was short, and fitted for felting. These 
breeds have been universally crossed with the South Down, 
and may be said to be nearly extinct in the pure state. Be- 
sides, few Sheep are now reared in the county of Berks, the 
farmers of which derive their Sheep for fattening from other 


A breed of Sheep has, from time immemorial, been na- 
turalized in the county of Dorset, which formerly extended 
over a large tract of country. These Sheep possess small 
horns, common to the male and female. They have white 
legs and faces : their wool is fine, but only applied to the 
making of second or livery cloths, and it weighs about four 
pounds the fleece. Their limbs are somewhat long, but 
without coarseness ; their shoulders are low, and the loins 
broad and deep ; their lips and nostrils are black, though 
with a frequent tendency to assume a fleshy colour. The 

will be presented to the public of a breed once so esteemed and celebrated. 
The individuals represented form part of a flock on an estate in the county of 
Wilts, bequeathed and held on the singular condition, that the proprietor 
should maintain a flock of the pure old Wiltshire Sheep. The former owner 
adopted this expedient for perpetuating the existence of his favourite breed. 


wethers fatten at three years old to about eighteen pounds 
the quarter. They are a hardy race of Sheep, docile, suited 
to the practice of folding, and capable of subsisting on 
scanty pastures. Their mutton is very good, but not equal 
in juiciness and flavour to that of the mountain breeds. 

The property of the Dorsets which remarkably distin- 
guishes them, is the fecundity of the females, and their 
readiness to receive the male at an early season. They 
have been known, like the Sheep of some warmer countries, 
to produce twice in the year. This, however, is rare ; but 
it is common for the females to become impregnated while 
they are nursing their young. They will receive the male 
so early as the months of April or May. The common 
period of admitting him is in the early part of June, so that 
the lambs shall be born in October, and be ready for use by 
Christmas. This has given rise to the practice of rearing 
the lambs in houses, until they are ready for the market. 
The system has long been regularly pursued, especially with- 
in reach of London, where a great demand exists for this 
kind of luxury. The rams employed to cover the ewes for 
these early lambs are not usually the Dorsets, but the Lei- 
cesters or Southdowns, and chiefly the Southdowns. The 
crosses are excellent, and no better nurses can be found than 
the Dorset mothers. 

The form of the Dorsets has a great resemblance to that 
of the Spanish Merinos. The resemblance, however, is 
entirely in figure, for the properties of the two races are 
very different. While the females of the Merino race are 
bad nurses, the Dorsets are the most productive of milk of 
any of our races of Sheep. In the broad and deep loins of 
this race, we have the same external character which, in the 
case of the Cow, indicates the faculty of yielding abundant 
milk. The remarkable fecundity of these Sheep has given 
rise to the supposition that they are derived from some 
warmer country, where the females bring forth twice in the 
year ; but the property may be one which is due to situation , 


The country of the Dorsets is calcareous, being partly on the 
limits of the chalk formation, and partly on the lias and oolite ; 
and the climate is mild, and the herbage is mixed with wild 
thyme and other aromatic plants. Formerly, the race was 
greatly more diffused in England than it now is. William 
Ellis, in his Shepherd's Guide, published in 1749, describes 
the west country Sheep as having " white faces, white and 
short legs, broad loins, and fine curled wool." He says they 
are of different sizes, the smaller sort being fed on commons, 
and that they are more tender of their young than any other, 
and in an especial manner the Dorsetshire variety. " Where- 
upon," says he, " those farmers that live in Hertfordshire, 
Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Middlesex, Surrey, and 
Kent, and would be masters of a fine kind of Sheep, for 
folding, fattening, and breeding lambs, cannot have a better 

Since the period referred to, however, this race of Sheep 
has been continually diminishing in numbers. The extension 
of the improved Leicesters and Southdowns gradually cir- 
cumscribed the limits of the ancient Dorsets ; and in the 
various midland and eastern counties in which they formerly 
abounded, scattered flocks only are found, and these rarely 

The crosses of this breed with the Leicesters and South- 
downs being superior to the original stock, a powerful cause 
is in operation to produce an intermixture of blood ; and 
were it not for the demand which exists in the great towns, 
and especially in London, for early lambs, the Dorsets might 
be expected, like so many of the older breeds of the country, 
to become extinct. Should this take place, we know of no 
means of supplying its place, for no other breed of these 
Islands possesses the properties of early breeding and fecun- 
dity in the same degree. While, therefore, the rearing of 
early lambs continues to be profitable, care should be used 
in preserving the purity of this ancient race, and in calling 
forth, by selection of the male and female parents, those 


properties which it possesses in so eminent a degree. The 
purest of the race are now to be found in a district round 

The Dorset Breed extends to the rich and beautiful county 
of Somerset, where it is now reared in greater numbers than 
in Dorsetshire itself. It here exhibits, however, some differ- 
ence of character. It is distinguished from the true Dorset 
by the colour of the nose, which is of a fleshy or pink colour, 
resembling that of the Merino. The Pink-nosed Somerset 
is larger than the Black -nosed Dorset, and of lanker form. 
The wool is somewhat longer, but nearly of the same fine- 
ness. The wethers, when fattened, attain to greater weight, 
and the lambs are larger. The Dorsets, however, are consi- 
dered as exhibiting the characters proper to the females in 
greater perfection. In the case of the Somersets, the usual 
period of admitting the males to the females is about the 
10th of May, so that the ewes may lamb in September or 
early in October. 

In both of these counties, especially in Dorsetshire, the 
Southdowns have been making continual progress, being 
either substituted for the native races, or employed to cross 
them. They are better suited than the Leicesters to mingle 
with the Dorset race, producing well-formed animals, and in- 
creasing the value of the fleece. 

The numerous varieties of the same group which inhabited 
the older commons are now nearly extinct, although traces 
of the characteristic form may still be observed in certain 
places. One variety, however, is still to be found in a state 
of purity. It inhabits the Isle of Portland, where it has been 
kept unmixed for an unknown period. These little Sheep 
have horns in the male and female. They are gentle, and of 
good form. They have a tinge of dun on the face and legs. 
Their wool, like that of the Dorsets, is of medium fineness, 
weighing about two pounds the fleece. They are washed, 
before being shorn, in the salt pools left on the shores by the 
returning tide. Their mutton is exceedingly delicate, and 


the wethers, when fat, at two years and four months old, 
weigh from ten to twelve pounds the quarter. 

The climate of the Isle of Portland is moist, and the natural 
herbage is largely mixed with wild thyme. The number of 
Sheep in the Island amounts to about 4000. Some years ago 
a flock of them was taken to the Derby hills by Sir George 
Crewe, M. P., and it is said that they supported well this 
change of climate and situation. No purpose, however, of 
economical utility can be served by carrying this curious 
breed beyond the narrow limits where it has acquired the 
characters which are proper to it. 


From early times, Spain has been noted for the production 
of numerous flocks of Sheep, and of wool adapted to the 
fabrication of the finer cloths and tissues. This country 
presents great diversity of surface and natural productions. 
Towards the south and east it is more African in its charac- 
ter than any other part of Europe. The interior consists of 
elevated plains, bounded and traversed by long ranges of 
mountains, the summits of which sometimes rise almost to 
the region of perpetual congelation. Descending from these 
chains of mountains are several noble rivers, which carry 
their waters to the Mediterranean and Atlantic through 
plains and valleys of surpassing richness and beauty. The 
climate varies greatly with the altitude, but the air is every 
where pure and dry. The vegetable productions are those 
of the warmer as well as of the colder parts of the northern 
temperate zone. The orange, the citron, the olive, and the 
vine, are common productions of the lower plains ; the rocky 
mountains are covered with cisti, arborescent heaths, and 
many beautiful and fragrant herbs ; and, in the cultivated 
country, are mingled the plants of the warmer with those of 
the temperate regions, the maize, the sugar-cane, the rice, 


and the sorghi, with wheat and other cerealia. Numerous 
varieties of Sheep occupy the plains and mountainous coun- 
try. Some produce a long wool, deficient in the property of 
felting, but fitted for the manufacture of the looser fabrics, 
as carpets and flannels, as well as serges and the lightei 
tissues. These long-woolled Sheep are found in the lower 
and more cultivated countries. The short-woolled Sheep in- 
habit, for the most part, the sandy downs, and the mountains 
and elevated plains of the interior, where a finer herbage 
prevails. They are altogether distinct from the larger Sheep 
of the richer plains, although both have been largely mingled 
in blood together, and have produced a mixed progeny, which 
is very numerous. 

This fine country, so rich and beautiful, has rarely been 
permitted to avail itself of its unrivalled resources. With a 
few happy intervals, the history of Spain is one of intestine 
troubles, of foreign wars, of civil intolerance, and religious 
bigotry. Its former inhabitants, apparently of the same 
great family of mankind which peopled Gaul and other coun- 
tries of Western Europe, were early visited, for the purposes 
of commerce, by Phoenician voyagers, and subsequently by 
the Samians and other Greeks, who were permitted to esta- 
blish towns on the coasts of the Mediterranean. These 
strangers at first contented themselves with their little mari- 
time colonies, and with the means of intercourse which these 
afforded with the native inhabitants ; but at length the Phoe- 
nicians, with that desire of colonization which distinguished 
them, founded the city of Gades, now Cadiz, beyond the 
Gaditanian Strait. The natives, alarmed at this encroach- 
ment, prepared to attack the intruders ; when the latter, in 
an evil hour, called to their aid the Carthaginians, then the 
most powerful maritime people of the Mediterranean. Dis- 
regarding its allies, this ambitious state began, on its own 
account, a system of cruel conquest, penetrating through the 
very heart of the country to the Ebro, establishing fortresses 
and founding cities, amongst which was the noble city of 


New Carthage, which to this hour retains the name of Car- 
tagena. In the year 216 B. c., the fatal siege of the city of 
Saguntum, situated in the modern kingdom of Valencia, gave 
rise to the memorable wars between Carthage and Rome, 
which ended in the destruction of the Carthaginian Common- 
wealth, and the supremacy of its relentless rival. In the 
meanwhile, the Romans pursued the conquest of the devoted 
country to which they had been called as protectors. But 
nearly 200 years elapsed before they were able io bring it 
under subjection. At length all Spain became a peaceful 
province of Rome, receiving in exchange for her independ- 
ence a longer exemption from the troubles of war, and a 
greater degree of public prosperity, than she has ever again 
been permitted to enjoy. Under the wise administration of 
Roman laws, Spain soon became the richest, most indus- 
trious, and most powerful, of all the dependent nations of 
the empire. It was during the period of Roman dominion, 
continued for more than 450 years, that this country became 
distinguished for her commerce, her agriculture, and her 
other arts. Some of her cities were reckoned amongst the 
most opulent of the ancient world ; and aqueducts, bridges, 
and ways of communication, now in ruins, attest a degree of 
civilization and refinement to which, except under the partial 
dominion of the Caliphs, she never again reached. 

The Roman writers, in their casual notices of the produc- 
tions of this important province, speak of its wool as being 
greatly esteemed for its fineness. It is described as being 
black. Pliny the younger informs us that the finest wool, of 
a black colour, was brought from Turditania ; and Strabo, 
who wrote in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, says, that wool, 
suited for the finer garments of the Romans, was brought 
from the same country. Pliny, while he mentions the fine 
wool of Turditania, states, that yet superior to it was the red 
wool of Boetica, that is, of the countries of the Boetis, now 
the Guadalquiver, forming the modern Andalusia, and part 
of Estremadura. The red wool of Boetica still remains, and 


is probably the same as that distinguished by the ancients 
unddfr the name Milesian, brought from Asia. It is stated 
by Martialis, himself a native of Spain, to be of the colour of 
wine. It is long and very soft, differing entirely from the 
wool of Spain> now so celebrated, termed Merino. 

The Roman power in Spain terminated in the year of our 
Lord 456, and was supplanted by that of the Northern Bar- 
barians. In the year 409, the Vandals, Suevi, and Allani, 
having forced the passes of the Pyrenees, carried rapine and 
desolation throughout the tranquil and happy land. The 
Roman legions, few in number, and fallen off in discipline, 
and the inhabitants become unwarlike from disuse of arms, 
were unable to make head against these cruel enemies, who 
did not, however, long enjoy their bloody triumphs. A nation 
of Goths, who had become the allies of the sinking empire, 
drew their swords for the recovery of Spain, and, after a 
series of murderous conflicts, succeeded in restoring it nomi- 
nally to its ancient masters. The Goths were worsted in 
their turn ; but at length their king Theodoric, by one deci- 
sive battle, established a Gothic monarchy in Spain, an event 
which introduced the feudal system in its rigour, shook the 
whole framework of society, and has influenced the fortunes, 
character, and institutions, of the Spanish people up to the 
times in which we live. The term Hidalgo, or son of a Goth, 
became a title of distinction, and those privileged classes 
were established which have been the bane of the countrv 


ever since. During the long dominion of these Gothic princes, 
upwards of 250 years, civil and religious wars desolated the 
country ; and nothing can be recorded/avourable to industry 
and the arts except that, towards the termination of this pe- 
riod, the enslaved country began again to enjoy something 
like repose. 

The Gothic dominion was doomed in its turn to a terrible 
overthrow. In the year 712, the Arabs, then termed Sara- 
cens, having overrun the whole of Mauritania except the 
little fortress of Ceuta, landed a tumultuary army on the 



shores of Andalusia, and in one great battle, fought at Xeres, 
decided the fate of Spain. They defeated the Christian army 
of a hundred thousand men, and, pursuing their victory, re- 
duced, in an incredibly short space of time, nearly all Spain 
to the dominion of the Caliphs, leaving the vanquished in 
possession of their laws and religion, under payment of the 
tribute prescribed by the stern tenets of the Koran. A 
remnant of the Goths, under their leader Pelagius, retired to 
the mountains of the Asturias, whence they were afterwards 
able to roll back the tide of conquest on the invaders of their 

The Moors, as the mixed races of Arabian and African 
conquerors were termed by the Spaniards, brought with them 
the arts of the East to their new country, and cultivated 
them with success during their long dominion. Although 
their possessions were at length divided into separate states, 
often at war with one another, and almost always with the 
Christians in contact with them, they brought the subject 
country to a high degree of prosperity and civilization. No 
people ever underwent so sudden a change of character and 
habits as the wild and fiery Arabs in the delicious country 
which they had rendered their own. They cultivated agri- 
culture, and brought the art of irrigation especially, to great 
perfection. They were skilled in the useful mechanical arts, 
and established looms, forges, glass-houses, dye-works, and 
manufactures of silk, cotton, paper, leather, and the like, in 
all their principal cities. They even cultivated letters and 
the fine arts, when all the rest of Europe was sunk in dark- 
ness. Their aqueducts, bridges, mosques, and other edifices, 
remain to this hour the monuments of a taste, industry, and 
skill, which their successors have never been able to equal. 
But that of all their arts which the most interests us with 
relation to our present subject, is their woollen manufacture. 
They fabricated cloths and carpets, with serges, and the other 
lighter tissues suited to the warmer countries. In the city 
of Seville alone were many thousand looms constantly at 


work, and others of their cities were scarcely less distinguished 
for the same class of manufactures. The woollen tissues of 
Spain were then the finest in the world, and not only sup- 
plied the demands of luxury at home, but were carried to 
other parts of Europe, to Africa, and all the countries of the 

But the splendid dominion of the Moors in Spain had early 
begun to be circumscribed by warlike enemies, and at length, 
in the course of ages, passed away. The Christians, under 
their Gothic leaders, emerging from their northern fast- 
nesses, wrested back, by slow degrees, kingdom after king- 
dom ; and, after the lapse of 780 years of heroic struggles, 
unexampled in the history of mankind, Granada alone re- 
mained to the Moslem conquerors of all their rich dominions. 
This, too, fell after a gallant defence ; the inhabitants being 
left, by treaty, in possession of their property and the exercise 
of their religion. The fall of Granada took place in 1492, by 
which time all the separate kingdoms of Spain had beSn 
united, by conquest or inheritance, in the persons of Ferdi- 
nand and Isabella, so that Spain once more became a king- 
dom ; and the discovery of the New World, with its bound- 
less treasures, seemed to render it at once the most powerful 
in Europe. 

But the seeds of decay had been sown along with the Chris- 
tian triumphs. As one kingdom after another was wrested 
from the Moors, they were partitioned among the great seig- 
niors, and the system of feudal vassalage was established in 
its worst form. The powers conferred on these warlike feuda- 
tories were alike in opposition to the rights of the people, and 
the prerogatives of the executive power. The laws were dis- 
regarded by subjects so powerful, and tumults and conflicting 
jurisdictions destroyed the peace of the country. Religious 
intolerance, and the usurpations of priestly authority, aggra- 
vated the civil disorders ; and triumphs, which should have 
been hailed as the harbingers of peace, did nothing to pro- 
mote the industry and happiness of the country. Ferdinand 


and Isabella, wise and sagacious as their general administra- 
tion was, were embued with all the bigotry of the age in 
which they lived. They established the Inquisition, one of 
the most savage institutions which has arisen since the dark 
ages. This junta of sanguinary priests directed their ven- 
geance against the Jews, in whose hands was the principal 
part of the internal traffic of the country. It has been com- 
puted, that, within four years after the establishment of that 
tribunal, six thousand of these unfortunate persons were pub- 
licly burned, and that a hundred thousand suffered every 
cruelty short of death. But it was against the Moors, who, 
in the days of their prosperity, had shewn so noble a for- 
bearance, that the rage of these merciless ruffians was espe- 
cially directed. No sooner had Granada fallen, than this 
unhappy race was doomed to all the cruelty and indignity 
which savage minds could devise ; and by degrees all the be- 
nefits of their industry were lost to the country which they 
had enriched. Such was the state of Spain when Charles V. 
succeeded to the fairest dominions that ever European prince 
had possessed. The history of his ambitious life is known 
to all the world. With the glory of his magnificent reign, 
the decay of Spanish power proceeded with silent steps. At 
the age of fifty-six, amidst the germs of future wars, he re- 
signed his crown to his son Philip, who, though not destitute 
of talents, never arrived at the reputation of his father. This 
cruel Prince was defeated in almost all his schemes of selfish 
ambition ; and the treasures of America, so far from adding 
to the wealth of his country, destroyed its prosperity, by 
withdrawing the attention of the inhabitants from those arts 
which could give it true riches. The persecution of the 
Moors was continued by him with increasing atrocity. The 
fires of the Holy Inquisition continued to burn by his com- 
mand. The resistance which this provoked in the victims, 
was the signal for further butcheries ; and, in the reign of 
his successor Philip III., the ruin of the industry of the 
country w T as completed by the expulsion of the remnant of the 


devoted race. Those that survived had conformed to the 
observances of the Christian faith ; but they were now to be 
driven away like felons from the land. The pretence was, 
that, though Christians in appearance, they were Mahomme- 
dans in their hearts. Thirty days were allowed these vic- 
tims, above six hundred thousand in number, to prepare for 
their departure ; after which it was death for any one to re- 
main. Spain thus lost, by acts of imbecility and tyranny, 
the most industrious of her population. The effects of this 
loss she never recovered ; but, exhausted by wars, emigra- 
tion, and imposts, sank into a state of languor and impo- 
tence, which rendered fruitless the blessings that Nature had 
left her. The flocks of her mountains remained, but the in- 
dustry that gave them value was taken away. In place of 
the beautiful fabrics which the arts of her people produced, 
it is the raw produce only which is now exported, and that in 
diminishing quantity from year to year. 

The Spanish Sheep, it has been said, consist of two general 
classes, comprehending' (1.) those which produce long wool, 
and which are generally the inhabitants of the more culti- 
vated countries ; and (2.) those which produce short and 
felting wool, and which are chiefly found on the mountains, 
elevated plains, and downs. Of the latter varieties of Sheep, 
greatly the most numerous and valuable are termed Merino, 
a word of doubtful origin, but derived from the adjective 
Merino, applied by the Spaniards to sheep moving from pas - 
ture to pasture ; whence, too, the word Merino, signifying a 
judge of the sheep-walks, and Merinadad, denoting the juris- 
diction of the judge. Numerous conjectures have been formed 
regarding the origin of this race of Sheep, so distinct from 
any other indigenous to Europe, It cannot, however, now 
be known from what beginning, or by what progressive steps, 
this remarkable race has acquired its distinctive properties. 
Spain appears to have been distinguished, in every known 
age, for the fineness of the wool of its Sheep, which we mav 
reasonably believe to be due to the climate, herbage, and 


other physical circumstances of the country in which the ani- 
mals are naturalized. It is, however, a reasonable supposi- 
tion, that the Merino race, which produces not only a fine, 
but a remarkably oily and felting wool, has been formed by 
some mixture of other races with the Sheep indigenous to 
the country. It has been supposed by some that it is derived 
from the Oves Molles, or fine-woolled Sheep of ancient Italy ; 
but the evidence upon which this opinion rests cannot be re- 
garded as satisfactory. Columella, a native of the South of 
Spain, informs us, that his uncle, of the same name, intro- 
duced some of the fine-woolled Sheep of Italy into his Spanish 
farm ; but he likewise informs us, that he procured some 
African rams, which had been brought to be exhibited at the 
public shows at Rome. How far these crosses affected the 
native breeds cannot be known ; but the facts may lead, per- 
haps, to the conclusion, that the wool of Spain, although dis- 
tinguished for its fineness, had not attained the perfection at 
which it afterwards arrived. There is great probability that 
the Sheep of Northern Africa were mingled in blood with 
those of Spain during the long period of Moorish dominion. 
We have no accounts, indeed, of the importation of African 
Sheep by the Moors ; but if Sheep existed in Africa capable 
of yielding wool suited to the manufacture of the finer cloths 
and tissues, it is certain the Moors would obtain them ; and 
we learn from the chronicles of the Spanish writers, that one 
at least of their own princes resorted to Africa for Sheep ; 
and the illustrious Cardinal Ximenes, who governed the 
country during the minority of Charles V., is distinctly re- 
ported to have brought Sheep from Africa to improve the 
Spanish wool. It has been said, indeed, that we know of no 
race of African Sheep that produces wool resembling the 
Merino. Even if this were so, it would not invalidate the 
reasonable conclusions that may be drawn. The wool of 
the Sheep of Africa, like that of other warm countries, is 
mixed with hairs ; but underneath these hairs is a short and 
downy fleece, and it is easy to suppose that, on such Sheep 


being transported to a colder country, the woolly portion 
would be more developed, so as to afford a covering to the 
animal ; but, in truth, it is known, that exceedingly fine wool 
is found in the north of Africa, though the races of Sheep 
that produce it have not been discriminated by travellers, 
and that there is a remarkable tendency in the Sheep of 
Africa to produce that copious oily secretion of the skin which 
distinguishes the Merino race from any other in Europe. 
The fine woollen fabrics of the Barbary States are known 
over all the countries of the Levant, and are one of the few 
manufactured productions which these long- desolated coun- 
tries export. It has been the opinion of many, that the 
Merino Sheep of Spain have been derived from England. 
Stow, in his Chronicles, informs that " this yere" (namely, 
1464), " King Edward IV. gave a license to pass over cer- 
tain Cotteswolde Sheep into Spain ;" and Baker says, 
" King Edward IV. enters into a league with John King of 
Arragon, to whom he sent over a score of Costal ewes and 
four rams, a small present in show, but great in the event, 
for it proved of more benefit to Spain, and more detrimental 
to England, than could at first have been imagined." From 
this slender incident it were idle to infer that the modern 
Merino owes its origin to the Sheep of England, though cer- 
tainly the resemblance of the Dorset breed of England, and 
particularly of the variety termed the Pink-nosed Somerset, 
would seem to be sufficiently striking to give some counte- 
nance to the supposition. But the successor of King John 
of Arragon was Ferdinand, who married Isabella of Castile, 
and it was the minister of these Sovereigns who resorted to 
Africa for Sheep to improve the Spanish wool. Our early 
writers, who assign an English derivation to the fine-woolled 
Sheep of Spain, were probably ignorant that already Spain 
was in possession of the best wool, and manufactured the 
finest woollen fabrics, in Europe. Upon the whole, although 
authentic documents on the subject are wanting, there is a 
presumption that the Sheep of Africa were employed to per- 


feet the Sheep of Spain with respect to the production of 
wool. The Merinos exhibit certain characters, which seem 
to shew them to have been derived from some country warmer 
than that in which they were naturalized, and it was during 
the dominion of the African possessors of the country, that 
the wool of Spain arrived at its greatest excellence. 

The Spanish Merino Sheep are of small size. The skin is 
of a reddish fleshy colour, and the wool is white, although 
black or dun sometimes appears on the legs, faces, and ears. 
The forehead is covered with a tuft of coarse wool, and coarse 
wool likewise appears on the cheeks. The males have large 
spiral horns ; but the females are usually destitute of horns. 
Both sexes have a certain looseness of skin under the throat, 
which is valued by the Spanish shepherds as indicative of a 
productive fleece. The legs are long, the sides are flat, and 
the chest is narrow. The fleece is altogether peculiar ; it is 
close, short, and unctuous, weighing, from these causes, more in 
proportion to its bulk than the fleece of any other known race 
of Sheep. From its closeness, it feels hard when compressed, 
but, on examination, the filaments are seen to be of extreme 
tenuity, and no wool has been found comparable to it for the 
property of felting. It is not annually renewed, but will con- 
tinue to grow for several years. 

The Spanish Merino Sheep, when we regard them as ani- 
mals to be fattened for human food, are of an inferior class. 
Their flesh is of indifferent quality, and they are of tender 
constitutions. The females are the worst nurses of any race 
of Sheep which inhabit Europe. So great is their defect in 
this respect, that in Spain half the lambs are killed in order 
that the ewes may be enabled to suckle the remainder, it 
being calculated by the Spanish shepherds, that the milk of 
two ewes is required to bring up one lamb in a proper man- 
ner. Abortions are frequent, parturition is difficult, and the 
ewes are more apt to desert their offspring than any other 
Sheep which are known to us. In these respects the Me- 
rinos resemble the ancient Oves Molles of Italy, which were 


remarkable for the delicacy of their constitution, their vora- 
city, unthriftiness, and inferior power of secreting milk. The 
same causes, it would appear, have produced the same effects. 
Attention having been mainly directed in both cases to the 
production of wool, the other properties were disregarded, of 
hardiness and the power of yielding fat and milk. 

The Spanish Merinos, although retaining a certain degree 
of wildness, are yet very docile in their tempers. No Sheep 
place themselves more unreservedly under the guidance of 
the shepherds ; and, although late in arriving at maturity, 
and difficult to be fattened, they are readily satisfied with 
dry and innutritious pastures. When put amongst other 
Sheep, they keep together, generally on the higher grounds. 
At night they form themselves into a circle, the rams and 
stronger sheep being on the outside, retaining thus the in- 
stincts which they had acquired in their native habitation. 
They are incapable of bearing the same extremes of cold and 
wetness as the hardy Mountain Sheep of Northern Europe ; 
and yet they do not seem to be peculiarly affected by changes 
of temperature, which, doubtless, their dense fleece enables 
them to resist. 

The Spaniards, who by degrees subdued the Moorish king- 
doms, neglected tillage, and attended chiefly to their flocks 
and herds ; and then it was that those immense sheep-walks 
seem to have been formed, which cover so great a part of the 
country. Writers of the middle ages speak of the large flocks 
possessed by individuals, amounting to thirty or forty thou- 
sand each. Whether it was found that the continued heat 
of the southern parts of Spain was less favourable to the fine- 
ness of the fleece, or whether convenience or necessity led to 
a change of pasture during the summer months, a practice 
was early established of driving the flocks of sheep to the 
cooler countries of the north in summer, and back to the 
southern pastures on the approach of winter. These migra- 
tory flocks are by some termed Transhumantes ; while the 


sheep that remain in the same district during the year are 
termed Estantes, or stationary. 

The stationary Sheep consist partly of the larger sheep of 
the lower country, partly of mixed races, and partly of pure 
Merinos, which do not differ in any respect from the migra- 
tory Sheep of that name, except in the method of treatment. 
The stationary Merinos are reared where the district or farm 
affords them sufficient food during the whole season. They 
are most numerous in the central countries, where the pas- 
tures are less apt to be scorched by the heats of summer, as 
in Segovia, and the mountain ranges to the north of Madrid. 

The migratory Sheep have been reckoned to amount to ten 
millions, which is probably equal to half the whole number of 
the sheep of Spain. They may be divided into two great 
bodies ; those which are to pass chiefly into the kingdom of 
Leon, and those which are to pass further to the eastward, 
to Soria, or even beyond the Ebro. These great hordes of 
sheep break up from their winter cantonments south of the 
Guadiana, about the 15th of April, and proceed slowly north- 
ward. The rams having been admitted to the ewes in the 
month of July, the lambs are born in November. In the 
course of their journey northward, they are shorn in large 
buildings erected for that purpose. The western or Leonese 
division, crosses the Tagus at Almaraz. The easterly or 
Sorian division, crosses the same river further to the east- 
ward at Talavera, and in its course approaches the city of 
Madrid. Having reached their destination, they are pas- 
tured until the end of September, when they recommence 
their journey southward. Each of these journeys, of several 
hundred miles in length, occupies about six weeks, so that a 
fourth part of the year is consumed in travelling. The older 
Sheep, it is said, when April arrives, know the time of sett- 
ing off, and are impatient to be gone. In the ten or twelve 
latter days, increased vigilance is required on the part of the 
shepherds, lest the Sheep should break away. Some of 


them do so, and pursue their accustomed route, often reach- 
ing their former year's pastures, where they are found when 
the main body arrives. But, for the most part, these strag- 
glers are carried off by the wolves, which abound along the 
course which the migratory flocks pursue. 

These migratory Sheep are divided into flocks of a thou- 
sand or more, each under the charge of its own Mayoral or 
chief shepherd, who has a sufficient number of assistants 
under his command. It is his province to direct all the de- 
tails of the journey. He goes in advance of the flock ; and the 
others follow with their dogs to collect the stragglers, and 
keep off the wolves, which prowl in the distance, migrating 
with the flock. A few mules or asses accompany the caval- 
cade, carrying the simple necessaries of the shepherds, and 
the materials for forming the nightly folds. In these folds 
the Sheep are penned throughout the night, surrounded by 
the faithful Dogs, which give notice of the approach of danger. 

"When the Sheep arrive at the Esquileos, or shearing- 
houses, which is in the early part of their journey north- 
ward, a sufficient number of shearers are in attendance to 
shear a thousand or more in a day. The Esquileos consist 
of two large rude rooms, with a low narrow hut adjoining 
termed the sweating-house. The Sheep are driven into one 
of the large rooms, and such of them as are to be shorn on 
the following day are forced into the long narrow hut as 
close as they can be packed, where they are kept all the 
night. They undergo in this state a great perspiration, the 
effect of which is to soften the hard unctuous matter which 
has collected on the fleece. They are then shorn without 
any previous washing, and the wool is left in the Esquileo, 
where it is sorted, and made ready for sale. By this ar- 
rangement 1000 Sheep or more are shorn, with the delay of 
only a single day. 

The Shepherds employed in tending these Sheep are cal- 
culated to amount to 50,000, which, supposing there to be 
ten millions of Sheep, is at the rate of 200 to each shepherd. 


The number of Dogs is calculated at 30,000. These shep- 
herds form a peculiar class of men, strongly attached to 
their pursuit, and living in a state of great simplicity. Their 
food is chiefly dark bread, oil, and garlick. They eat the 
mutton of their Sheep, when they die or meet with accidents. 
In travelling they sleep on the ground, wrapping themselves 
in their cloaks ; and in winter they construct rude huts to 
afford shelter. They seldom, it is said, change their calling. 
The whole of this extraordinary system is regulated by a 
set of laws ; and an especial tribunal, termed the Mesta, 
exists for the protection of the privileges of the parties hav- 
ing the right of way and pasturage. These parties claim 
the right of pasturage on all the open and common land that 
lies in their way, a path of ninety paces wide through the 
enclosed and cultivated country, and various rights and im- 
munities connected with the pasturage of the flocks. The 
system is opposed to the true interests of Spain. A change 
of pasture ma^ be required for the flocks in the drier coun- 
tries at certain seasons, but the periodical migration of so 
great a body of Sheep cannot be necessary to the extent to 
which it takes place. Enormous abuses are committed on 
the cultivated country as they pass along. A fourth part of 
the year consumed in travelling, must be prejudicial to the 
health of the animals in a greater degree than the benefits 
they derive from a change of pasturage. A prodigious mor- 
tality accordingly takes place amongst these Sheep ; and more 
than half the lambs, it is said, are voluntarily killed, in order 
that the others may be brought to maturity. The sale of the 
lamb-skins, which form a subject of export to other countries, 
is indeed a source of profit, but nothing equal to what the 
rearing of the animals to their state of maturity would pro- 
duce. That these extensive migrations are necessary to 
preserve the fineness of the wool, is conceived to be an error. 
Attention to breeding and rearing would more certainly pro- 
duce this effect than a violent change of place. In Spain 
itself there are numerous flocks of stationary Merinos, whose 


wool is of all tlie fineness required ; and in other countries of 
Europe, where the Sheep are never moved off the farms that 
produce them, wool is produced superior to that of the migra- 
tory flocks of Spain. But the system is of great antiquity, 
and is so riveted in the habits of this ignorant and intractable 
people, that it is likely to be one of the last of those ancient 
abuses which will yield to the desire of change, which at this 
moment agitates the feelings of men in this distracted country. 
The Spaniards long preserved the monopoly of this race 
of Sheep with jealous care ; but other countries at length 
were able to carry off the Golden Fleece of Spain, and the 
Merino race is now spread over a great part of Europe. It 
has been carried to North America, to the southern extre- 
mity of Africa, and to the boundless plains of New Holland, 
in all of which places it has been found to retain, with, won- 
derful constancy, the characters which had been imprinted 
on it in its native pastures, and in certain cases to surpass in 
useful properties that of the parent stock. The first country, 
it is believed, which acquired the pure Merinos, was Sweden. 
In 1723, M. Alstroemer, a spirited and patriotic individual, 
was enabled to import a small flock of pure Merinos. In 
1793, the Swedish Government entered with zeal into the 
plan, established an agricultural school under the superin- 
tendence of M. Alstroemer, and used every means to extend 
the breed. The measures adopted succeeded, to the degree 
of diminishing the importation of short wool, and increasing 
the manufacture of the finer cloths ; and, after the lapse of 
more than a century, the stranger race produces wool nearly 
as soft and fine as at its first importation. The Sheep are 
housed during the six months of winter, and generally during 
the nights in summer ; and it is by means of this artificial 
treatment that the wool preserves its original properties. 
The ewes are between two and three years old before they 
are suffered to breed, and seven years old before they are 
fattened for the butcher. They are far inferior in hardiness 


to the native races ; and, if due attention were paid to the 
cultivation of the latter, it may be questioned if they would 
not be of superior economical value to the breeders. It is 
supposed that there are about 100,000 of the pure and mixed 
Merinos in Sweden, reckoned to be about l-25th part of the 
Sheep of the country. 

France, although in contact with Spain on the Pyrenees, 
did not attempt to acquire the Merino race until some time 
before the middle of last century, when the illustrious Col- 
bert, pursuing his numerous plans for extending the arts and 
commerce of France, brought several Merinos across the 
mountains for the purpose of improving the native Sheep. 
His plan, though well devised, was opposed by the prejudices 
of the people, and entirely failed. But in the year 1786, the 
French Government, adopting the same design, imported a 
considerable flook of pure Merinos, and established them at 
the royal farm of Rambouillet, near Paris, where their de- 
scendants yet remain. Every means were used to extend 
the breed amongst the agriculturists of France, but with 
little comparative success. In 1796 the Directory of the 
French Republic took yet more active means to multiply the 
breed. By a secret article in the treaty of Bale, they obtained 
power to import from Spain 100 rams and 1000 ewes annu- 
ally for five years. The Spanish Government quickly re- 
pented of this forced concession, and political events pre- 
vented the completion of the scheme, so that, of the stipulated 
number, only 2000 rams and ewes reached their destination. 
Napoleon resumed the project, and during his reign many 
Merinos were brought across the frontiers. In this manner 
have been introduced a great number of Merinos into France, 
which have either remained pure, or been employed to cross 
the native races. But, upon the whole, France has not been 
very successful in this branch of husbandry. Although the 
climate and soil of France are eminently suited to the pro- 
duction of fine wool, the minute division of property in land, 


the small extent of sheep pastures, and the habits of the 
peasantry, have not heen favourable to any general system 
of improvement applied to this race of Sheep. 

It is in the German States that the Merino race has been 
the most widely diffused, and the most successfully culti- 
vated. The Elector of Saxony, on the close of the Seven 
Years' War in 1765, obtained from the King of Spain 100 
Merino rams and 200 ewes, taken from the best flocks of 
Spain. He kept them partly pure on his own farms near 
Dresden, and he partly distributed them throughout the 
country, for the improvement of the native Saxon Sheep. It 
was soon found that the race preserved all its properties, 
and was capable, under skilful treatment, and by due selec- 
tion of the breeding parents, of surpassing, in the excellence 
of the fleece, the stock from which it had been derived. The 
most judicious means were employed to extend this branch 
of husbandry, by the establishment of schools for the instruc- 
tion of shepherds, by the circulation of tracts, and otherwise, 
and very soon the wools of Saxony became the finest in 
Europe. The Saxon sheep-masters bestow a care in the 
selection of the Sheep producing the finest wool, which has 
no parallel in any other country. The best are reserved 
for propagating the race, and by this means the characters 
which indicate the property of producing fine wool, are main- 
tained or increased in the progeny. This is an application 
of the true principles of breeding ; and the care with which 
the system is pursued, is the main cause of that unrivalled 
excellence to which the fine-woolled Sheep of Saxony have 
attained. The Sheep are kept in houses during the winter ; 
and the general treatment of them, with respect to food, is 
adapted to promote the fineness of the fleece, the production 
of mutton being regarded as of secondary moment. 

Prussia followed Saxony in the same course of improve- 
ment. In the year 1768, M. Fink, near Halle, in the Duchy 
of Magdeburg, introduced some Saxo-Merino Sheep, and ten 
years later several pure Merinos from Spain. His endea- 


vours to improve the Sheep of the country attracted at length 
the notice of the Prussian Government, and, in 1786, Frede- 
rick the Great imported direct from Spain 100 rams and 200 
ewes of the pure Merino Breed. The greater part of this 
imported flock died near Berlin of various maladies ; and 
those that were sent to distant parts of the country degene- 
rated, through the carelessness and want of skill of those to 
whom they were entrusted. M. Fink was commissioned to 
make a second purchase of 1000 pure Merinos ; and agricul- 
tural schools were established, under the superin tendance of 
M. Fink himself, for the instruction of shepherds, and for 
disseminating a knowledge of the method of treatment of the 
Sheep. These endeavours were successful, to the extent of 
improving, by the admixture of blood, the native races, and 
shewed that the pure Merinos could be reared in Prussia 
without deterioration of the properties of the fleece. The 
animals are chiefly fed on hay, straw, and corn ; and the 
same precautions are used as are necessary in other north- 
ern countries for protecting the Sheep from the inclemencies 
of the weather. A considerable number of Merinos of pure 
and mixed races are now produced in the Prussian States. 
The wool of Silesia, in particular, stands in the first rank, 
and has been made greatly to surpass that of the finest of 
the migratory Sheep of Spain. 

Austria early pursued the same course which had been 
followed elsewhere. In 1775, the Empress Maria Theresa 
imported into Hungary 300 Merinos, and established them 
at the imperial farm of Meropail. A school for farmers and 
shepherds was established, and printed instructions were 
issued, regarding the nature of the wool, and the methods of 
treatment to be adopted. Subsequent importations were 
made, and now a large proportion of the Sheep of Hungary 
are either pure Merinos, or Merinos mixed in blood with the 
indigenous races. The enormous estates of the Hungarian 
nobles, whatever may be their effect on general industry, are 
well adapted to the husbandry of Sheep ; and this country 


can now boast of wool equalling in fineness that of the 
mountains of Spain. In Bohemia, and almost all the other 
Austrian States, Merinos have been introduced, and every- 
where have been seen to equal or surpass the parent stock. 
In Wurtemberg, Hanover, Bavaria, and other countries of 
Germany, the same means have been employed with suc- 
cess, to introduce the Merino race. It has been carried to 
Denmark and Norway, to Poland and Switzerland, and to the 
dominions of Russia, especially on the Black Sea, where a 
climate exists calculated to bring every natural production 
to excellence. The Merino race has thus been naturalized 
over the greater part of Europe, from Scandinavia to the 
Crimea ; and Spain can never more possess the monopoly of 
a production which had descended to her as an inheritance 
for so many ages. The experiments shew, that a certain 
class of characters having been imprinted on a breed of ani- 
mals, these characters can be preserved under very varying 
conditions of soil and temperature, by artificial treatment 
suited to the ends proposed, and by selecting, for the con- 
tinuance of the race, the animals in which the properties 
required are sufficiently developed. 

The Merino Breed, which had extended to so many coun- 
tries of Europe, was at a period more recent introduced into 
the British Islands. George III., a zealous and patriotic 
agriculturist, resolved to make a trial of this celebrated 
breed on his own farms, and means were taken to obtain a 
small Merino flock. This was done clandestinely ; the ani- 
mals were selected from the flocks of different individuals, 
where they could best be got ; and were driven through Portu- 
gal, and embarked at Lisbon. They were safely landed at 
Portsmouth, and conducted to the King's farm at Kew. 
The flock was bad ; the selection had been carelessly or igno- 
rantly made ; and the animals being taken from different 
flocks, presented no uniformity of characters. It was then 
resolved to make direct application to the Spanish Govern- 
ment for permission to export some Sheep from the best 



flocks. The request was at once complied with ; a small 
and choice flock was presented to His Majesty by the Mar- 
chioness del Campo di Alange of the Negretti flocks, esteemed 
to be the most valuable in Spain ; and, in return, His Majesty 
presented to the Marchioness eight splendid coach-horses. 
This flock arrived in England in 1791, and was immediately 
transferred to the Royal farms, while all those previously 
imported were disposed of or destroyed. 

On the first change of these Sheep to the moist and luxu- 
riant pastures of England, they suffered greatly from dis- 
eases, and, above all, rot, which destroyed numbers of them ; 
and from foot-rot, which affected them to a grievous extent. 
By a little change of pastures, these evils were remedied ; 
and, after the first season, the survivors became reconciled 
to their new situation, and their progeny seemed thoroughly 
naturalized, and remained as free from diseases as the Sheep 
of the country. The wool was from year to year carefully 
examined : that of the original stock remained unaffected by 
the change of climate, while, in that of their descendants, 
little degeneracy could be detected either in its felting pro- 
perties or fineness. 

This experiment excited extreme interest throughout the 
kingdom. Various individuals endeavoured to cultivate the 
pure race, but experiments were mainly directed towards 
crossing the native breeds with Merino rams, in the hope of 
combining the fineness of the Spanish fleece with the econo- 
mical qualities of the English Sheep. With this design, the 
Merino rams were made to cross the South Down, the Wilt- 
shire, the Leicester, and the Byeland ewes ; and in some 
cases the experiment was reversed, and the English rams, 
especially of the Eyeland Breed, were put to the Merino 
ewes. Many distinguished agriculturists, Mr Coke, after- 
wards Earl of Leicester, Sir Joseph Banks, the Duke of Bed- 
ford, the late Lord Somerville, and others, prosecuted these 
curious and important experiments ; and the writings of Dr 
Parry and others brought the subject in a prominent manner 
before the country. 


In the year 1804, when the sale took place from His Ma- 
jesty's stock, many purchasers, the advocates of the Merino 
Breed, came forward, and the Sheep were sold at high, 
though not at exorbitant, prices ; the average price of the 
rams being L.19, 14s. a-head, and that of the ewes L.8 : 15 : 6. 
In the following autumn, a similar sale took place at advanc- 
ing prices. Seventeen rams and twenty-one ewes were sold 
for L.1148, 14s., being at the average rate of L.30 : 4 : 6. 
At succeeding sales, these rates were maintained or increased. 
In 1810, thirty-three rams brought L.1920, 9s., or L.38 : 9 : 11 
a-head, and seventy ewes, at the average rate of about 
L.37, 10s. 

In the year 1811, a society was established under the pre- 
sidency of the distinguished and indefatigable Sir Joseph 
Banks, with the express design of promoting and encourag- 
ing the cultivation of the Merino breed. Fifty-four vice- 
presidents were named, and local committees established in 
almost every district, or county, of England. This Society, 
the most influential, from its numbers and the agricultural 
skill of its members, that had yet been established in Britain, 
pursued their task with spirit and zeal. Amongst other means 
adopted for promoting the purposes of this institution, was 
the offering of premiums for pure Merinos, or for the crosses 
with the native Sheep. Every thing favoured the purposes 
of this patriotic band, and in an especial degree the unex- 
ampled prosperity of the landed interests of the country, and 
the enormous prices of the finest class of wools, produced^by 
the events of the war. 

Public opinion, however, and the practical judgment of 
farmers, had, even before this period, been reducing the pre- 
tensions of the Merino breed, and the mixed progeny, to the 
proper standard, as the subjects of economical culture. It 
was found, that however promising were the crosses at first, 
the progeny invariably fell short of the expectations formed. 
They were small in size, less hardy than the British parents, 
and generally of inferior form. So perfectly have time and 
experience confirmed these results, that there scarcely exists, 


except in the hands of the curious, a single flock of the mixed 
progeny from which so much was anticipated. They have 
either been abandoned altogether, or the breeders have gra- 
dually recrossed with English blood, until almost all traces 
of the Spanish mixture have been lost. 

In place, however, of attempts to engraft the Spanish upon 
the English stock, other breeders preserved the pure Merinos, 
and this experiment was greatly more successful than the 
other. The naturalized Merinos have been found to increase 
in size, in disposition to fatten, in the power of the females 
to yield milk, and, by attention in breeding, to improve in 
the external form. The wool becomes longer, and loses some- 
what, though not much, of its tenuity, unless, indeed, the 
means are taken to secure the animals, as in Saxony, from 
cold, the necessary effect of which is to call forth a greater 
production of wool for the protection of the animal. The 
naturalized Merinos have never acquired the hardiness of the 
native races, and would perish at once on the mountains on 
which the Welsh, the Cheviot, and the Black-faced Heath- 
breeds, are acclimated. Nevertheless, analogy conducts us 
to the conclusion, that the Merinos are capable of becoming, 
by degrees, adapted to the climate in which they are reared. 

The objections to the cultivation of Merinos in the Bri- 
tish Islands are not that they cannot be reared, inured to the 
cold, and improved in form, with a moderate preservation 
of the characters of the wool, but that they do not, as a 
breed, equal, in economical importance, those of which we 
are already possessed. The wool, indeed, is the most va- 
luable and abundant of that of any race of Sheep that we 
can rear ; but the wool is not the only profitable produce of 
Sheep in this country ; and it is by a combination of the pro- 
duction of mutton and wool, that the interests of the farmer 
are best served. The breed is in the country, can be ob- 
tained by every one, and has been the subject of trial by the 
best farmers ; and yet we see it almost everywhere aban- 
doned in favour of the native races. Did the British farmer, 
like the Saxon, derive his principal profit from the fleece, 


and little from the carcass, then he might cultivate the pro- 
duction of the one in preference to the other ; but this is not 
the case under the present circumstances of this cojuntry, and 
the British farmer's interest is therefore different. He can- 
not afford to shut the animals in houses for half the year, for 
the purpose of protecting them from the inclemency of the 
weather, in order that the wool may be fine ; nor to feed 
them on hay and corn, in preference to the abundant roots, 
herbage, and forage plants, with which the agriculture of the 
country enables him to supply his animals. 

If individual interest does not admit of the cultivation of 
fine wool in preference to abundant mutton, and the adoption 
of a breed of inferior hardiness, early maturity, and fatten- 
ing powers, so neither does it seem that the national interest 
requires it. Spain, and other countries of Europe where the 
fleece is more valuable than the carcass, are employed in 
producing fine wool, and the extended commercial relations 
of England enable her to obtain it, in the quantity which her 
manufacturers consume, from all these countries. Even her 
own colonies are now enabled to supply it in increasing 
abundance. Is it not better, then, that we should trust to 
commerce for the supplies of a commodity which can be 
raised more cheaply than at home, and devote our Sheep 
especially to the production of that food with which no other 
country can supply us, contenting ourselves with a kind of 
wool which, though less fine than that produced elsewhere, 
is all required and consumed by the manufactures of the 
country ? 

The most distinguished breeders of Merinos at this time 
in England are Lord Western and Mr Benett, M. P. for 
"Wiltshire. Lord Western's stock is either Saxon, or has 
been crossed by Saxon rams ; Mr Benett's is pure Spanish, 
and has undergone progressive improvement, by selection 
of individuals of the same blood. The number of his flock 
amounted at one time toTOOO ; but it was subsequently reduced 
to 3500. It was treated in the ordinary manner of Sheep in 


this country. Lord Western's, it is believed, is managed 
more in the Saxon manner, with respect to protection from 
the weather. Mr Benett's fine flock, notwithstanding that it 
had been thus acclimated, perished in great numbers in a 
severe winter some years ago, proving that the race had not 
yet lived sufficiently long in England to be perfectly inured to 
its cold and variable climate. Other gentlemen have imported 
Merinos direct from Saxony, and thus obtained at once the 
highest perfection of the fleece ; but there is little reason to 
believe that their experiments will be more successful than 
those that had been previously made. Merinos have been 
lately carried in some numbers to Ireland, and may perhaps 
prove more advantageous than some of the existing breeds ; 
but this will not shew the great value of the Merinos, but 
the comparatively little value of the races which they have 

The Merino breed of Sheep has likewise been carried to a 
different region of the globe, and been subjected to a new set 
of external agents. The great insular continent of New Hol- 
land, presenting characters, in its vegetable and animal pro- 
ductions, which distinguish^ it from all other countries, has 
now received this important race, which has been found to 
adapt itself with the utmost facility to its new condition. 
The first European settlement in this remarkable country 
was made in the year 1788, when a party of English crimi- 
nals was landed in Botany Bay. To supply the early colo- 
nists with wool and mutton, and establish a permanent flock 
for their future maintenance, Sheep were imported from 
Bengal. These were the small hairy animals found in that 
part of India. It was soon discovered that these miserable 
Sheep improved in their useful properties by the change of 
climate and food. They became prolific, the hair diminished 
in quantity, and a fleece of soft wool, though not of great 
fineness, succeeded. This simple experiment added to the 
many proofs before existing of the all-pervading influence of 
external circumstances over the form and characters of ani- 


mals. The importation of Bengal Sheep was soon after 
followed by that of superior races from the mother country. 
Individuals of the Leicester and South Down breeds were by 
degrees imported, affording the kinds which were wanted by 
the infant colony, namely, animals that should supply food 
rather than wool. This experiment was entirely successful, 
and the intermixture of the new Sheep enlarged the size, and 
increased the economical value, of the original race. The 
wool even of these crosses, notwithstanding of the most 
slovenly treatment on the part of their owners, was found 
equal or superior to the finest produced in the mother country ; 
and in twelve years from the first landing of the settlers, the 
Sheep of the colony had increased to upwards of 6000. The 
result of these trials, and the growing prosperity of the 
settlement, produced a desire on the part of the wealthier 
colonists to try the fine-woolled Sheep of Spain, which had 
been introduced into the British Islands. A few of this race 
were obtained from England, and the result, like all the pre- 
vious experiments, proved the admirable adaptation of the 
country to the rearing of Sheep, and in an especial degree to 
the production of a fine and soft wool. After a few crosses 
with the existing race, the wool produced was found to be 
nearly equal to that of the pure Merinos of Spain ; and when 
the original race was preserved without intermixture, the 
wool became more fine and soft than that of the same race 
in their native pastures. Merinos were now imported direct 
from Saxony, and this experiment likewise was successful. 
When the breed was preserved pure, the wool preserved its 
essential properties, with that increase of flexibility and soft- 
ness which is the distinctive character of the Australian wools. 
Some of the wool of these Saxon Sheep, when it had been 
properly cleaned and attended to, brought the highest price 
of any other in the English market, and led to the belief, that 
these rising colonies were destined to supply the manufac- 
tures of England with wool superior to that of any other 
country. These expectations were formed chiefly in con- 


sequence of the peculiar softness of these new wools, which 
fitted them to amalgamate admirably with the harsher wools 
of the country in certain manufactures. But although the 
best of the Australian wools still sustain a high character, 
they are not found to equal the Saxon, in fineness, and that 
peculiar property which fits them for the manufacture of 
cloth. This is indeed the consequence of the diiferent con- 
ditions of the two countries. In Saxony labour is cheap, and 
an attention can be devoted to the improvement of the Sheep 
and their wool, which is impracticable in a thinly peopled 
country, where the want of labourers supplied at 
any price. Under such circumstances, there must be a rude- 
ness of management inconsistent with the minute attention 
necessary to preserve and increase to the uttermost the valu- 
able properties of the fleece. The matter of surprise is not, 
that, under such circumstances, the Australian production 
should be inferior to the Saxon, but that it should so nearly 
equal it. 

The island of Van Diemen's Land, situated to the south 
of New Holland, between the latitudes of nearly 41 and 44 
south, enjoying a cooler temperature, and being more exempt 
from the severe droughts of the sister country, was settled 
by two ships which had proceeded from England with con- 
victs. The first destination of these persons was Port Philip, 
which they reached in the autumn of 1805 ; but it being con- 
ceived that obstacles existed to the establishment of a per- 
manent settlement at that port, they were carried to the river 
Derwent, where, soon after, Hobart Town, the capital of the 
new colony, was founded. Sheep of the defective Indian 
breed were soon afterwards introduced into the colony ; but 
it was not until the year 1820, that the cultivation of fine- 
woolled Sheep was fully established. A flock of 300 Merino 
lambs was imported from Sydney ; but, in consequence of a 
distemper which broke out amongst them previous to sailing, 
only 181 arrived at their destination in September 1820. 
These were distributed amongst the colonists about Hobart 


Town ; and, some years later, pure Merinos were imported 
from Saxony. Thus the basis of a fine-woolled breed of 
Sheep has been laid in this interesting island, although as 
yet the wool produced has not equalled in value that of the 
sister colony. 

The progressive increase in the numbers of sheep in these 
noble possessions is without example. In the year 1810, only 
167 Ib. of wool were imported into England from the colony 
of New South Wales. In 1820, the quantity had increased to 
99,418 Ib. ; in 1830, to 973,336 Ib. : in 1832, the quantity 
brought from both colonies was 3,516,869 Ib. ; in 1838, 
8,067,243 Ib. ; and since this period the importation has been 
proceeding in a constantly increasing ratio. Other settle- 
ments have been established on the coasts of New Holland, 
at Swan River, at Port Philip, and elsewhere ; and more re- 
cently the tide of emigration has flowed into the lovely islands 
of New Zealand, which, however, being covered with dense 
forests, are less suited to the multiplication of sheep than the 
vast plains of New Holland. Thus, in regions almost un- 
known to the civilized world until within the memory of the 
living generation, are to be found the means of supplying the 
woollen manufactures of England with the raw material in 
boundless quantity ; and it is gratifying to humanity to think 
that the foundations of this great storehouse of public wealth 
have been laid, not on violence and bloodshed, but on agricul- 
tural prosperity, and the improvement of the fleece. 

The attention of the Australian colonists has been natu- 
rally directed to the cultivation of fine wool ; but it is evident 
that there are limits to the profits to be derived from this 
commodity, both from the increasing production of the coun- 
try, and from the rivalship of the districts of Europe where 
the Merino wool is cultivated. It is a question, therefore, 
whether the colonists should not now direct attention to the 
long or combing wools as well as to the short or felting. It 
is probable that the long wools of England would acquire, in 
these favoured climes, the very properties which would benefit 


them the most, and that the heavier fleeces of the Leicester, 
the Cotswold, and the Old Lincoln Sheep, would yield a larger 
profit to the wool-grower than even the higher priced Merino. 
But the two classes of Sheep should be kept entirely distinct. 
The Merino breed should be selected and cultivated with all 
the care which the state of the country will allow. Merinos 
of the pure race may be obtained in England ; but in num- 
bers too small to supply any considerable demand. They 
would be more conveniently procured from Saxony, proper 
precautions being employed in making the selection from 
flocks of established reputation. The best period for exa- 
mining the flocks is the month of January, or even February. 
The cheapest mode of getting an improved stock is to pur- 
chase the refuse or cast ewes ; but the proper mode to insure 
the obtaining of them of the best sorts is to make a selection 
out of the good flocks of the country. Unless, however, the 
purchaser is a very good judge of the quality of the wool, he 
will require an assistant in the country, who, for a fixed 
amount per head, will make the selection ; and it will be 
proper for those who are to make considerable purchases to 
send a trusty person to the country. The price for refuse 
ewes is from four to eight dollars, at 3s. per dollar ; of se- 
lected ewes, from ten to twenty dollars, and of rams, from 
k L.3 to L.20. Some remarkably fine rams even bring prices 
so high as from L.50 to L.200 ; but this great expense can 
never be required, except in the case of individuals who al- 
ready possess highly improved flocks, which they are desirous 
of bringing to the greatest degree of perfection. In the case 
of Australian settlers, it would be well for a number to com- 
bine and purchase a considerable number at once, as from 
1000 to 2000 ewes, with a corresponding number of rams. 
The best mode of proceeding would be, to collect the Sheep 
at Biesa on the Elbe, and ship them to Hamburg, a separate 
boat being hired for the purpose. Shipments might also be 
made from Dresden. The precautions to be used in making 
these purchases are, to deal only with persons of known cha- 


racter, and, as has been said, to obtain an assistant in the 
country to select the Sheep, and to send a trusty servant to 
take charge of them. The expense of purchasing and trans- 
porting the Sheep to England is not considerable ; and when 
we consider the immense national importance of conveying 
to our Australian possessions the best of the race that can be 
obtained, it is to be trusted that the colonists will find it for 
their interest to resort to countries where the animals can 
be obtained in the greatest purity and perfection. 


In the tract of country lying westward of the Severn, and 
bounded by the mountains of Wales, there has in every 
known period existed a race of Sheep, of small size, destitute 
of horns, and noted for the softness and fineness of their 
wool. The part of England where this breed was long the 
most diffused and cultivated was the county of Hereford, a 
tract of the old red sandstone formation, stretching from the 
confines of Wales to near the Severn. But the breed ex- 
tended into Monmouthshire on the south, into Shropshire on 
the north, and into Gloucestershire and Warwickshire on the 
east, occupying many forests, commons, and wastes. The 
variety reared in the county of Hereford was generally termed 
the Hereford Breed. Sometimes it was characterized by the 
names of the places in which it was found in the greatest 
numbers or perfection. It was sometimes termed the Archen- 
field Breed, and sometimes the Ross Breed, from the south- 
eastern district of the county lying between the Forest of 
Dean and the Malvern Hills. But it became at length more 
generally known by the name of the Ryeland Breed, from 
certain sandy tracts formerly devoted to the production of 
rye, situated southward of the river Wye. 

We have no historical record of the derivation of this 
breed from any other country, and may therefore assume 


that it had been indigenous beyond all memorial to the dis- 
tricts which it inhabited. It may not unreasonably be in- 
ferred to be a variety of that widely-diffused race of soft- 
woolled Sheep which formerly extended from the mountains 
and islands of Scotland to the mountains of Wales, and 
which was probably in possession of the earliest Celtic in- 
habitants of the British islands. From its diminutive size, 
its patience of scanty food, and the lightness of its fleece, we 
may conclude that it was the native of countries of a low 
degree of fertility, probably of districts of forest, which, until 
cleared of their wood, are always unproductive with respect 
to the nutritive grasses. The county of Hereford, it is to be 
observed, though now rendered rich and beautiful by art, 
was formerly covered with woods, and interspersed with ex- 
tensive commons and chases, which long remained waste and 
barren. "We are not therefore to conclude, that, because the 
country is now fertilized, it was not formerly suited to the 
maintenance of a race of small Sheep. The nature of the 
wool of this breed, too, which was noted beyond any other 
for its fineness, caused the breed to be preserved unmixed, 
and with nearly its pristine characters, long after the county 
of Hereford had become capable of supporting larger ani- 

The wool of the Ryeland breed was long regarded as the 
finest that the British islands produced. The ancient city 
of Leominster, being surrounded by a country producing 
this kind of wool, and being the market-town to which it was 
brought for sale, gave name to the wool of the country, which 
was termed Lemster Wool, or Lemster Ore. Drayton, who 
wrote in the reign of Henry VIII., when comparing the wool 
of the Cotteswold Hills with the lighter fleeces of Lemster, 
bears testimony to the superior fineness of the latter. Cam- 
den, describing the town of Leominster, " which," says he, 
" was also called Leon Minster, and Lyon's Monastery, of a 
Lyon that appeared to a religious man in a vision," says, 
" The greatest name and fame is of the wool in the territories 


round about it (Lemster Ore they call it), which, setting aside 
that of Apulia and Tarentum, all Europe counteth to be the 
verie best." 

A method of treating the Sheep of this part of England, 
calculated to preserve and increase the fineness of the wool, 
existed until a recent period. The animals were kept during 
the night in large houses termed Cots, capable of containing 
from 100 to 500 Sheep. This practice was probably adopted 
in early times, for the purpose of protecting the animals 
from the wolves which greatly abounded in the forests of the 
western counties. It may be supposed to have been continued 
afterwards by habit ; but experience would shew that it was 
eminently calculated to preserve and increase that fineness 
of the wool for which the breed was distinguished. The 
animals in these cots were sparingly fed with pease-straw 
and other dry forage, a system eminently favourable to the 
production of a short and delicate fleece. 

The modern Ryelands, where they yet exist, retain the 
diminutive size of their progenitors. Their form is compact, 
and their mutton is juicy and delicate. They are gentle and 
well formed ; and they are patient in a remarkable degree 
of scanty fare. Both sexes are destitute of horns. The 
colour of the whole fleece is white, and the wool extends 
forward to the face, forming a tuft on the forehead. This 
wool is yet the finest produced in England. It is not, how- 
ever, equal in this respect to that of the Spanish Merino, 
nor so well suited, by its felting properties, for the purposes 
of the clothier, on which account, since the extensive intro- 
duction of the fine wools of Spain and Germany, its relative 
value has greatly declined. Further, the Sheep are of small 
size, and inferior in economical value to the races which the 
country is capable of maintaining. Hence, the inducement 
to cultivate the breed has been constantly diminishing, so 
that it has now almost ceased to exist in a state of purity. 

The smallness of the size of the Ryelands led to innumer- 
able experiments in crossing, with the design of increasing 


the weight of the animals, and in the hope of maintaining 
the fineness of the wool. The experiments failed, as might 
have been anticipated, with respect to the preservation of 
the quality of the wool, but succeeded in increasing the size 
of the progeny. But the system of crossing, which excited 
the greatest attention, and from which the most favourable 
results were anticipated, was with the Spanish Merino, soon 
after the introduction of that celebrated breed into England. 
Strenuous exertions were used by individuals and public 
associations to introduce the Spanish blood, and sanguine 
calculations were made of the benefits likely to result to the 
woollen manufactures of the country. Time and experience 
have proved the fallacy of all these hopes, and left to agri- 
culturists an instructive lesson on the principles of breeding. 
The first crosses promised well ; but, in breeding from the 
mixed progeny, it was found that, while the wool had become 
inferior to that of the Spanish stock, the hardy qualities, the 
goodness of form, and the aptitute to fatten, of the English 
breed, were impaired. The crosses became remarkably di- 
minutive ; and the whole labour of the experiments was found 
to have been thrown away. It was assumed that the Spanish 
Merino and the English Ryeland were the same race. A 
better knowledge of either would have shown that the two 
races were remarkably distinct in their characters ; and that, 
if any of the English breeds were suited to this kind of 
crossing, it was the Dorset and Pink-nosed Somerset, and 
not the diminutive Ryeland. This species of crossing has 
been long in disuse, but numbers of the flocks in Hereford- 
shire and the adjoining counties still exhibit traces of the 
Spanish mixture. 

Some breeders endeavoured to improve the native race by 
selection of individuals and superior feeding. The breed, 
however, was naturally diminutive, and numerous genera- 
tions of Sheep must have passed away before this radical 
character of the race could have been changed. The system, 
therefore, was resorted to, of effecting the end by crossing 


with larger animals, as the Southdowns, the Leicesters, and 
the Cotswolds. It was found, however, that scarce any of 
our races of Sheep was with more difficulty amalgamated 
with others than the ancient Ryeland ; and a vast number of 
worthless Sheep were long produced in Herefordshire by 
these crosses. A better course was found to be, to substitute 
at once the stranger stock which it was proposed to culti- 
vate. Numbers accordingly, chiefly Leicesters and Cotswolds, 
are now reared in the country, and the "Ryeland breed is 
diminishing from year to year. The last great cultivator of 
the Ryeland Breed was Mr Tomkins of Kingspion, the dis- 
tinguished improver of the modern breed of Hereford cattle. 
Mr Tomkins persevered in keeping up the breed of his native 
county. He succeeded in communicating to it greater 
symmetry of form, but he did not succeed in enlarging the 
size to the degree of rendering it of equal economical value 
with the races by which it has been supplanted. 

All the minor varieties of this once celebrated breed have 
partaken more or less of change. One variety, greatly dis- 
tinguished, inhabited the Forest of Dean, a tract of the coal- 
formation lying between the Severn and Wye. This tract 
was formerly covered with one of the densest forests in 
England, " So dark and terrible," says Camden, " by reason 
of crooked and winding waies, as also the grisly shade thereof, 
that it made the inhabitants more fierce, and boulder to com- 
mit robberies." By the discovery of mines in this forest, the 
woods were gradually thinned, and at last nearly extirpated ; 
and it then continued to be occupied by a kind of Sheep, 
which, until our own times, were held in the greatest esti- 
mation for the fineness of their wool. The Dean Forest 
breed has now disappeared in the pure state, having merged 
in the crosses of all kinds that have been made with it. A 
similar variety occupied the Malvern Hills on the confines of 
Worcestershire ; but here the flocks have likewise become 
a mixture of various races. In Shropshire were several 
varieties of the same hornless sheep, inhabiting the different 


forests and commons. The Chum Forest breed had wool 
weighing from 2 Ib. to 3 Ib. the fleece ; and the Shawberry 
breed, sometimes called the Tadpole, from its diminutive 
size, had wool of extraordinary tenuity and softness. The 
mere remnants of these and other varieties are now only to 
be found ; the admixture of the races of the lower country, 
or of the mountain breeds of Wales, having nearly obliterated 
the former distinctions. 

Thus, the finest-woolled Sheep of the British Islands may 
be said to be extinct as a breed. Their former value, arising 
from the adaptation of their wool to the manufacture of 
native cloth, has been lost. Commerce now supplies us with 
wool more adapted to the purposes of the clothier ; and other 
native races afford a material better suited, by the length 
and strength of its filaments, to the class of manufactures in 
which the combing wools are employed. These longer- 
woolled Sheep are likewise fitted to yield a larger return to 
the breeder who has artificial food at command ; and hence 
the disappearance of the fine-woolled Sheep of the western 
counties, is merely the result of the better cultivation of the 
country, and of changes in the channels of commerce and 
manufacturing industry. 


Of the breeds of Short-woolled Sheep which formerly in- 
habited the mountains, downs, forests, and less fertile dis- 
tricts of the country, some, it has been seen, were distin- 
guished by being of small size, by being mostly destitute of 
horns, and by having the legs and faces white ; and to this 
class is to be referred the beautiful little breed of Hereford- 
shire, and other districts west of the Severn, already men- 
tioned. But another class of breeds, still more diffused, is 
distinguished by the individuals having the legs and faces of 
a dark colour, and, in most cases, by the presence of horns 


in both sexes. Under this class is comprehended the Black- 
faced Heath Breed, which, it has been seen, inhabits the cen- 
tral chain of bleak mountains which stretch from the borders 
of Scotland southwards. This breed has large spiral horns, 
has the face and limbs covered with black hair, and has a 
moderately short, yet harsh and shaggy fleece. But these 
characters, proper to the race in the more elevated moun- 
tains which it inhabits, yield to the influence of external 
agents, so that, as we recede from the wilder country, a 
change appears in the form and aspect of the animals, and in 
the properties of the wool. Westward of the central moun- 
tains, in the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland, 
the wool becomes more soft, and the form of the animals less 
robust. In the Yorkshire Wolds, to which the same race 
formerly extended, there was an equal deviation from the 
parent type ; and still more in the commons and forests of 
Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and other inland counties. As we 
approach to the confines of Wales, the Black-faced breeds 
approximate more to the characters of the Sheep of the 
higher Welsh mountains, the wool becoming more soft. Ap- 
proaching to the Welsh type are the Delamere Forest Breed 
in the county of Cheshire, and the Morfe Common Breed in 
the county of Shropshire. The latter inhabited a country of 
limited extent near Bridgenorth, on the Severn ; and, until 
our own times, was noted for the fineness of its wool. A 
similar race extended southward through Herefordshire, 
which, from the delicacy and softness cf its wool, was reck- 
oned little inferior to the Ryeland itself. Turning to the 
great chalk districts of England, occupying the south-eastern 
parts of the island, there were likewise numerous varieties 
of Short-woolled Sheep, in some of which the horns, and even 
the dark colour of the face and limbs, disappeared. In this 
class are the Old Norfolk, still inhabiting the heaths of Nor- 
folk and Cambridge, the Old Wiltshire, the Old Berkshire, the 
Hampshire, and numerous minor varieties, which formerly 
possessed the various commons, and heaths of this part of 



Kngland. I hit, of all these varieties, m\v the most, ini|MHM 
ant and generally diffused, is that which inhabits the range 
of chalky hills of Sussex, commonly termed the South |)owns 
The South Downs of Sussex consist of a r.-n^c of low 
chalky hills, of live or six miles in breadth, si retching along 
ihe coast upwards of sixty miles, an 1 passing into the chalky 
lauds of Hants on the west. In contact with this range of 
hills, is a tract of low cultivated ground, which is usually 
connected with the Down farms, although many of the latter 
have no vale or tlal land attached. The herbage of these 
hills is short., but well adapted for the keeping of Sheep, of 
which vast numbers have, in every known period, occupied 
the pastures. Whilst the dry ness of the air, the moderate 
elevation of the land, and consequent mildness of the climate, 
are all eminently favourable to the rearing of a race 4 of I><>\\ n 
or Mountain Sheep, the contact of the cultivated country 
alVords the means of supplying artificial food in due quantity. 
It is this combination of favourable circumstances which has 
rendered these calcareous hills capable of Supporting a 
greater number of Sheep than perhaps any tract of similar 
fertility in the country, and has afforded the means to the 
breeders of applying the resources of artificial feeding to 
their improvement. The original breed of the Sussex Downs 
was not superior to that of many other districts of the Chalk- 
formation ; but the means of supplying the animals with arti- 
ficial food, which tl raphical situation of this long and 
narrow chain of hills in contact with the richer country 
afforded, aided the breeders in applying to the improvement of 
I he race a system of breeding and feeding, which has ren- 
dered the South Down Urccd the most esteemed in the 
countries suited to it of all the Short -woolled Sheep of Mug- 

The native breed of the South Down hills was of the 
smaller kinds of Sheep, with light fore-quarters, narrow 
diesis, long necks, and long, though not coarse, limbs. The 
\vool was short, tine, and curling, although not equalling in 

rur soi ni . i> u ; 

ih'i .1 horillo-. 

Ot' tho \\OStoril I'OWltios, uor ON 011 thai 

s ol' thv' ohtor tOTtttl aiul romi 

ostitnto i . .it k-aM up I .'(' \\ hu-h \NO 

ha\o A. ablo (hat tho ohk 

pottos . . : .. N .. .. : . iimo 

knul ot ooiui(r\ I'ho taoos aiul hul^s^^ l -l^ < iv>\v-t\\l \\i(h 

t'l.u . .1 (ruili'iuN i'\isU'il in (hv- v'Mi.u- (\scic iv .r> 

;<> flu- s.i 

UTU N.uitli I\'\N u i;i\\',l is t ,t horns m 

tlu in.i'., , ,- aiul L >lu-'u\ -rax . 

(lu- IHM\ i-KMl> ,v\ c\\\\ \\ ith slu-rl .iiul , iirhu-: >> otl 

N\ Ink- (lu- UM-MI ,'(' (lu- oKK-r luvt'vl lu-.-u JMV^I > ,,!, 

tllO tOO great li^'hliu .-- ol llu- f\>t\- ^ii.iru-rs kvn , 

rt'v-toil, tho ohost lins boon \\iiloiuul, (lio baok aiul loins h.-i\o 

luvonio broiiilor, uiul (ho ribs imro i-ui'NOil; aiul (lio trunk 

UIOIV S\ .il aiul i-oiup.u ( riio 

lunbs h:i\o boooino UUM\- slu>rt \\itli to (lu- h 

in otluT \\.M\U. du- boil\ h.r. ..> \\iili rotation 

bo UM iitni's rtu- uook rtfdik the Mrohed ftM-ni vii.u-aott>rw- 

't (lu- oklor rai-o, but has luviMilo l\liiv slu-r( 1 
oi>nios uoll l'on\ju\l iiju-n (lu- t'aoo. aiul ConniiuKoN in a (uii 
UU I ho torohoail I'ho Mllmal aro ihvilo in oinpM-.s. 

aiul snitk-il U) ili*' 1 ; ^ Q! th' I'^I'l. ^ hu-h ta y^t geitt* 

ra!l\ pm-Mioil in (hv I lu-\ aro oapablo ol Mil 

on (lu- slioi-t horba:;<- {' (lu .,1 v u -kl 

\vhiehlwsiil\Yji\sboonhohliii - I.KUMI I'lu- 

ai-o usually tallonoil at(oi haMi.- l -oaiplotol llioir 

>oar .ililuui.'h nulnuluaU ol snpoi UM (k , Ls aro otlon .va,l\ 

at (ho a-o ot about liltoi-u month* , N> lu 

I ho ohlor bivml v>oro rarolx Uilk-^l until tlio\ hail ooinplotoiJ 

thoir think o, jimvoil ai their fourth yoar 

It is to (ho otVoots o! oar.-t'ul oulturo mulor t'a\ourablo oir 
onmstanoos, that tho hivtnl ot' (lu- South lK-\\ 

- i iorit\ NN hu-h u has !ioiuuvtl o\or all du- ol n i 

\\oolk\l MUVJ. ol tho uiullatul aiul southorn lountu-s ( .| I . 


land. With the advancement of tillage, and the larger pro- 
duction of turnips and other succulent plants, the breeders of 
Sussex had the means of treating their animals well while 
advancing to maturity ; while increased attention was given 
to the selection of the breeding parents, and to the conse- 
quent calling forth of those properties of form which evince 
the tendency to arrive at early maturity of muscle and fat- 
ness. The improvement of the South Down Breed began 
about the period of the American war, but it received its 
chief impulse with the commencement of the contest with 
the French Republic, and has continued progressive until 
the present time. Amongst the individuals most distinguished 
as the improvers of this breed, was the late John Ellman. 
This gentleman began his important experiments about the 
year 1780, when he acquired possession of the farm of Glynde, 
near Lewis, in the county of Sussex. He remained in this 
farm more than fifty years, during which period he directed 
his attention, in an especial degree, to the improvement of 
the native Sheep of the Downs. He pursued his system of 
progressive change with judgment, perseverance, and zeal ; 
and he must be regarded as one of the most skilful and suc- 
cessful breeders whom this country has produced. He dis- 
played none of the too narrow selfishness which, it is to be 
regretted, appeared in the proceedings of his distinguished 
contemporary Mr Bakewell. He freely communicated the 
details of his valuable practice, and shewed himself to be 
entirely exempt from illiberal prejudices. He did not ex- 
perience the necessity of creating, as it were, a breed, but 
was contented to adopt the basis which was afforded him in 
the one already naturalized in the Sussex Downs. He did 
not carry any of his principles of breeding to an extreme, but 
acted under the guidance of temperance and judgment. He 
sought for the properties of health and soundness of constitu- 
tion, as well as for those of external form, and facility of 
fattening ; and therefore he did not, like Bakewell, confine 
himself rigidly to the blood of his own stock, but resorted to 


others, that he might infuse fresh vigour into his flocks, and 
prevent them from becoming too delicate. His aim, in short, 
was the really useful ; and, though he reaped the due reward 
of his enterprise and skill, it was never obtained by arts of 
any kind, by deception, or useless ostentation. His charac- 
ter throughout was one of sincerity and manly simplicity ; 
and it is pleasing to add, that he closed a long and honour- 
able life, respected and regretted by all that came under the 
influence of his social virtues. He died in 1832, having 
entered into his eightieth year. 

Contemporaries and successors of Mr Ellman have pursued, 
with deserved success, the cultivation of the South Down 
Breed, which may now be said to be brought to all the per- 
fection, with respect to early maturity and fattening power, 
of which it seems to be susceptible. The system of selling 
and hiring out rams was early adopted, and is now exten- 
sively pursued by eminent breeders, who devote attention to 
the rearing of rams as an especial branch of their profession. 
This is a division of labour highly conducive to the perfecting 
of the breed, and the extending of it in its state of purity and 
highest cultivation to different parts of the country. But the 
breeders of rams naturally rear the animals, under favourable 
circumstances with respect to the supplies of food ; and thus 
a tendency is produced to an enlargement of size beyond that 
characteristic of a breed suited to a district of downs and 
short herbage. The appropriate localities of the South Down 
Breed are those which are suited to the lighter kinds of 
Sheep. To the richer and moister plains are adapted other 
breeds, which produce a long and heavy fleece, and are the 
native inhabitants of districts of abundant herbage. Such 
are the Leicester, and other varieties of Long-woolled Sheep, 
to be afterwards described. Doubtless, the South Down 
Breed may. by the stimulus of artificial food, and by being 
naturalized in a country fertile in grasses, become as large 
as the Leicester and other Long-woolled breeds of the plains ; 
and it has been long making progress to this condition in the 


hands of the principal Sussex breeders. But the change is 
one which, in proportion as it may adapt the breed to a richer 
country, may render it less suited to those more dry and 
steril tracts over which it has been spread, and in which 
hardiness and soundness of constitution, and the capacity of 
subsisting on scanty food, are properties to be regarded as 
much as the disposition to arrive at early maturity and fatten 
quickly. Nevertheless, the past efforts of the Sussex breeders 
to improve the breed, by rearing it in a more artificial con- 
dition than is suited to it, have hitherto been eminently suc- 
cessful in rendering it of more economical value. The earlier 
improvers of this breed paid especial attention to the fineness 
of the wool, which then bore a high price for the purposes of 
the clothier ; but attention having been insensibly directed to 
other properties, the staple of the wool became longer, and 
the filaments less fine, and now, by changes in the demand, 
from causes before adverted to, the relative value of this 
kind of wool greatly declined ; and, in the cultivation of the 
breed, the production of fine and delicate wool is everywhere 
regarded as secondary to the properties of form, and the 
value of the animals for food. 

The South Down Breed has spread over a great tract of 
country, and either superseded the pre-existing varieties, or 
been so mingled with them in blood, as to have modified all 
their characters. But it is in an especial degree in the 
countries of the chalk-formation, that it has been generally 
established. It has superseded the ancient breeds of Berk- 
shire, Hampshire, and Wiltshire ; and, extending into the 
counties to the westward, has greatly circumscribed the 
limits of the horned Dorsets. It has spread from the wastes of 
Surrey to the heaths of Norfolk, displacing the ancient breeds, 
or mixing with them, so as to obliterate their former distinc- 
tions. It has been carried beyond the countries of the chalk- 
formation, although in decreasing numbers. It has extended 
into Herefordshire, and partially into Devonshire and the 
lower parts of Wales, and northwards even to Westmoreland 


and Cumberland. But, beyond the limits of the countries of 
the true chalk, or of the calcareous district in contact with 
the chalk, it is only found occupying tracts of narrow extent, 
or is employed as a means of improving the flocks of the 
heaths, commons, or .other tracts which are still occupied by 
races of smaller Short-woolled Sheep. It has been introduced 
into Scotland, and partially cultivated with some success ; 
but it has made no general progress in that country, and does 
not seem calculated to displace the hardier mountain breeds 
already acclimated. 

The wide extension of a breed so greatly improved as the 
South Down, must be regarded as having been in a singular 
degree beneficial. Although itself the native of a dry coun- 
try, and therefore, it may be supposed, imperfectly suited to 
a humid soil and atmosphere, yet its range is not confined to 
very narrow limits. It is naturally of a healthy constitution, 
patient of scanty herbage, and, from the closeness of its 
fleece, fitted to resist changes of temperature. Further, like 
every other race of Sheep, it possesses the faculty of becom- 
ing inured to new conditions of soil and temperature ; and 
experience, accordingly, has shewn, that it may be gradually 
naturalized in countries very different from that from which 
it has been derived. By crossing, it can be readily amalga- 
mated with all the varieties of Sheep which can be referred 
to the Black-faced Heath Breed as their type ; and it can be 
made to improve the Black-faced Heath Breed itself, in situa- 
tions in which hardiness, and adaptation to a rude climate and 
country, are not more to be regarded than the improvement 
of the form and fleece. 

The wool of the South Down Sheep weighs, when washed, 
about 3 Ib. the fleece ; but, in some of the more highly-fed 
flocks of the lower countries, its weight is now 4 Ib. or more. 
The staple, or length of the filaments, is from 2| to 4 inches, 
while that of the older breed rarely exceeded 2 inches, and 
more frequently fell short of that length. The wool, although 
fine and short, is somewhat harsh and brittle, and never was 


well fitted for the manufacture of the finer woollen cloths, 
requiring always a large admixture of the softer wools of 
home or foreign growth. But the war with France having 
at length excluded the manufacturers of England from most 
of the foreign markets which supplied the raw material, the 
woollen fabrics of the country were chiefly prepared from na- 
tive wool. This circumstance gave a high relative value, not 
only to the South Down wool, but to all the finer and shorter 
kinds produced in the country, as that of the Norfolk, the 
Wiltshire, the Dorset, the Ryeland, the Cheviot, and the 
other varieties of Short-woolled Sheep which then abounded 
in the country. But, when the memorable events of 1814 
opened all the ancient marts of trade, wool of superior fine'? 
ness was obtained, in the quantity required, from the counr 
tries of Europe in which the Merino race was cultivated, and, 
after a time, from the boundless wilds of the Australian colo- 
nies. This produced an immediate change in the market- 
price of all the finer wools formerly employed in the manu- 
facture of woollen cloth, and at length caused them to be 
applied to other purposes. In place of being used for the 
manufacture of woollen cloth, they were extensively employed 
for the lighter and looser fabrics classed under the name of 
Worsteds. This difference in the destination of the shorter 
wools, coupled with the diminution of the market-price, has 
produced an important change in the cultivation of Sheep in 
this country. It has led to an extension in the number of 
the Long-woolled Sheep, and a decrease in the number of 
those cultivated for the fineness of their wool ; and, in the 
case of the latter, has caused attention to be directed rather 
to the weight of the fleece, than to those properties which fit 
it for the manufacture of cloth. All the lesser kinds of 
Sheep, as the Ryeland, Morfe Common, and Dean Forest 
breeds, producing a fine and delicate wool, are either extinct, 
or have lost their distinctive characters by intermixture with 
other races ; and, throughout entire tracts of country, which, 
not more than twenty-five years ago, were occupied by Short- 


woolled Sheep, not a single flock of this kind is to be found. 
The South Down Breed, it has been seen, has been exten- 
sively substituted for many of the older breeds ; but the 
Long-woolled Sheep of the lower country have likewise been 
progressively extending, and have either displaced the Short- 
woolled varieties altogether, or, by means of crossing, changed 
their character with respect to the production of wool. 


The breeds of Sheep hitherto described are proper to the 
mountains, moors, downs, and less cultivated districts, and 
most of them produce a short wool fitted for preparation by 
the card. The breeds that remain to be described are of 
entirely different characters, with respect to form and the 
nature of the fleece. They are of large size, arid, until im- 
proved by art, of coarse form ; and the wool which they 
yield is long, thick, and tough in the filaments, of inferior 
felting properties, but tolerably soft to the touch, and rarely 
approaching to the harsh and wiry character of hair. This 
kind of wool, from the strength and toughness of its fibres, 
is unsuited for being broken into fragments by the action of 
the card, and is, accordingly, never prepared except for 
worsted yarn, and by the assorting of the comb. If the 
British Islands are inferior to other countries in the produc- 
tion of the finer felting wools, they are superior to any in 
the case of those adapted to the worsted manufacture. The 
long wools of the plains of England have in every known 
period been of the highest estimation. They were early 
carried to other countries, and now produce fabrics which 
are diffused throughout the markets of the world. 

The Long-woolled Sheep of England are the natives of the 
richer plains, although they have long been carried to all 
parts of the country where agriculture has provided the 
means of supplying artificial food. The first and most ex- 

1 70 THE SHEEP. 


tensive locality of this class of Sheep is the fine tract of new 
red sandstone which, extending southward from the lower 
valley of the Tees, forms the fertile valleys of York and 
Trent ; and which, extending from the vale of Trent to the 
mouth of the Severn, and thence northwards, includes the 
greater part of the counties of Nottingham, Leicester, War- 
wick, Worcester, and a part of Stafford and Lancaster; com- 
prehending a tract of the highest fertility with respect to the 
production of the grasses and other herbage plants. But 
connected with this tract, as a locality of the Long-woolled 
Sheep, are districts of the lias and oolite formations, com- 
prehending the counties of Rutland, Northampton, Glouces- 
ter, part of Oxford, and others, to which may be added the 
lower parts of Devonshire, and the valleys of the larger 
rivers in different parts of the country. The second locality 
of the Long-woolled Sheep comprehends the flat alluvial 
tracts of fens on the eastern coasts and the shores of Kent. 
Conformably to this division, the Long-woolled Sheep may 
be arranged in two general groups ; first, those of the inland 
plains, represented by the Teeswater, Leicester, and other 
varieties ; and, secondly, those of the fens and alluvial coun- 
try, represented by the breeds of Lincolnshire and Romney 

Of the breeds which have been mentioned, those of the 
marshes and fens are the most marked and peculiar in their 
characters. The rich and marshy tract of land, extending 
from the Humber southwards, through Lincolnshire into 
Norfolk, Cambridge, and the adj oining country, is a fitting 
habitation for the coarser and heavier kinds of Sheep. The 
lower part of Lincolnshire, accordingly, and the fertile tracts 
in connexion with it, are inhabited by a race remarkable, be- 
yond any other, for their size, their coarse and massy forms, 
and the length of their wool. The type of these breeds has 
been termed the Old Lincoln, which requires, however, to 
be distinguished from the race of mixed lineage which now 
inhabits the same country. 


The Old Lincoln Sheep, of which the remnants now only 
exist, are destitute of horns, are of coarse form, have large 
limbs and hoofs, hollow flanks, and flat sides. Their long 
unctuous wool almost hangs to the ground, and they have a 
large tuft on the forehead. Their fleece weighs from 10 to 
12 lb., and, in the rams and fattened wethers, often greatly 
exceeds this weight. They fatten slowly, and consume much 
food, but are valued by the butchers for their tendency to 
produce internal fat. About seventy years ago, when the 
New Leicester, or Dishley breed of Bake well, became dis- 
tinguished, the Lincolnshire breeders resorted to this stock 
as a means of communicating to their own the property of 
early fattening, for which the new breed was eminent. This 
system of crossing was carried on until the close of the last 
century, and has been continued up to the present time, so 
that the old breed is scarcely any where to be found of un- 
mixed blood. The figure given in my larger work is taken 
from a flock which has been maintained perfectly pure from 
a period previous to that in which the Dishley blood was in- 
troduced. The worthy owner, amidst all the changes of the 
times, has continued to maintain the stock which his fore- 
fathers had cultivated. By the continued breeding from the 
same blood, this particular flock has doubtless suffered de- 
terioration ; but it retains all the essential characters of the 
ancient race, and presents, perhaps, the only living example 
of the most remarkable breed of Sheep which the British 
Islands have produced. 

The crossing of the Old Lincoln with the Dishley blood, was 
not at first effected without great opposition, and a contest 
arose between the supporters of the ancient breed and the 
new, which lasted for more than a quarter of a century. The 
advocates of the older breed contended for its greater hardi- 
ness, its better adaptation to the rich pastures of the country, 
the enormous weight to which individuals could be raised, 
and, above all, their unrivalled fleece. On the other hand, 
the earlier maturity, and the greater aptitude to fatten, of the 


new breed, were considerations urged by those who favoured 
the system of crossing which had been resorted to ; and it 
was contended, that, although the weight of individual fleeces 
was diminished, the value of wool produced on the acre was 
increased, from the greater number of animals that could be 
maintained on the same space.* 

* A correspondence on this subject, in the year 1788, has been preserved, 
between Mr Chaplin, a distinguished breeder of the Old Lincolns, and Mr 
Bakewell of Dishley, which is curious, as shewing the angry feelings of the 
time, and bringing before us, and in his own words, one so distinguished for 
what he has done, and so little known by any thing he has written, Mr Bake- 
well. It had been proposed, it seems, that a show of rams should take place at 
Partney, for the purpose of comparing together the old and new breeds. Mr 
Bakewell had declined allowing his rams to be seen until they were sorted, as 
it is termed, but appears to have thought that there would be no great harm 
in taking a peep at his rival's, even in their state of disorder. Mr Chaplin re- 
senting the proceeding, thus addresses his wily opponent : " The extraordinary 
art made use of in the exhibition of your stock at Dishley, points out, in the 
strongest manner, the impropriety of shewing it in a disorderly state ; and after 
my refusal on the 21st instant to let you see my sheep before they were collected 
and sorted at home, I did not expect to hear of your meanly sneaking into my 
pastures at Wrangle, on the 24th, with two other people, driving my sheep 
into the fold, and examining them. Such unwarrantable conduct can only be 
accounted for by your great anxiety about the show of rams at Partney, near 
Spilsby, on the 18th of September, which was proposed for the purpose of mak- 
ing the comparison between those bred from your sheep and the original breed 
of the county. The small sheep that have no cross of the Durham kind, which 
you have had the address to impose upon the world, without size, without 
length, and without wool, I have always held to be unprofitable animals ; but 
that I may not appear to be too tenacious of my own opinion, I hope you will 
produce them at Partney, on the 18th September next, to meet the Lincoln- 
shire sheep, where there will be many better judges than ourselves to decide on 
their merits." 

The reply is characteristic. " On my return home on Tuesday last, I saw 
your letter addressed to me of the 26th of August, in the Liecester paper of 
the 6th instant, in which you are pleased to notice the extraordinary art made 
use of in the exhibition of the stock at Dishley ; which you have seen at several 
different times. Surely you cannot say you have observed any unfair practices, 
or that you was ever denied seeing what was not engaged for the season, on 
account of their not being sorted, or being in a disorderly state. At Ilorncastle, 
on Thursday the 21st of August, I asked you if I might see your rams near 
Saltfleet. You did not say I should not, but that they were not sorted, and that 
when they were you would be glad to see me at Tathwell. I did not go to 
Saltfleet, but into the marshes, near Skegness ; and from thence, on the Satur- 
day afternoon following, to Wrangle ; the next day, Sunday the 24th, to Free- 
ston, where 1 met with two graziers, with whom 1 had not any acquaintance 
till that day. They proposed on Monday to go to Skegness, and asked me if I 


The claims of the modern breed in the end prevailed, and 
the remarkable old race of the fens was by degrees displaced, 
or mixed largely in blood with the new variety. The breeders 
of Lincolnshire doubtless consulted their immediate interests, 
in availing themselves of the improved stock of Bakewell, to 
give at once those qualities to their own in which it was defi- 
cient ; but at the same time, great regret may now be enter- 
tained, that the native breed had not rather been improved 
by an application of the principle of selection, than destroyed 
in its distinctive characters by indiscriminate crossing. The 
wool of the true Old Lincoln breed was altogether peculiar, 
and such as no country in Europe produced. That of the 

thought they could see your rams. I told them I was informed on my way to 
and at Wrangle, that they might. We set forward together, and called at the 
inn at Wrangle, which I came from the day before, and there passed what you 
are pleased to term, my ' meanly sneaking into your pastures on the 24th.' 
We asked a young man if you had any rams there ; he informed us you had. 
' Where are they ? ' 'In the close next the house.' ' May we see them ?' 'Yes.' 
4 Who would shew them ?' 'I will.' From which we supposed he had fre- 
quently shewn them to others. We then alighted and went into the close ; he 
opened the pen-gate, and we assisted him in driving them in, about fourteen 
in number. The age or breed of any of them I do not know. From thence 
we went to the person who has the care of your rams, about a mile and a-half 
nearer Skegness, and asked if we could see them ; he refused us, saying he had 
received orders by a letter from you not to shew them to any one. He was then 
asked if they had not been shewn before. He answered they had. ' When did 
he receive the order not to shew them ?' 'On Saturday night last.' Had we 
known this before, we should not have been guilty of what you term ' such un- 
warrantable conduct.' I have long made it a rule not to find fault with another 
person's stock. Why should you be so severe upon mine ? And I now take 
the liberty of requesting you to explain what you mean ' by sheep without size, 
without length, and without wool,' which you say I have had the address to 
impose upon the world ; and of informing you that I am fully persuaded there 
are ten rams without a cross of the Durham, or any other kind, let for a thou- 
sand guineas more this season than the same number of the ' true Old Lincoln- 
shire breed, of the long staple,' some of these at the highest prices, into the 
counties of Lincoln and Nottingham ; and to breeders, many of whom have 
used the Dishley sort of sheep for upwards of twenty years, and who have agreed 
for some, and offer higher prices for others, for future seasons, than they have 
yet given, and may surely be supposed capable of knowing the value of what 
' you have always held to be unprofitable animals.' Did they not find their 
interest in so doing, would they persevere ? The address must be extraordi- 
nary, indeed, that could impose upon them against their interest and so 


New Leicester breed is shorter and finer; but it wants the 
toughness, softness, and length of fibre which distinguish 
the other, and which, could it now be obtained, could be used 
with great advantage in various worsted manufactures. It 
cannot be doubted, that the same principles of breeding which 
enabled Mr Bakewell to form a new breed, could have been 
applied by the Lincolnshire breeders to remove the defects of 
the native race, and call forth its useful properties. 

But although the Old Lincoln breed is now almost extinct 
in the pure state, the breed of mixed lineage which has suc- 
ceeded to it in the countries of the fens often retains much 
of its peculiarities. In this rich district are yet to be found 
the largest sheep of the Island, and, it is believed, of Europe, 
with fleeces superior in weight and value to any other. They 
do not fatten so quickly as the New Leicesters, but they 
arrive at great weight, and pay the graziers well, on the fer- 
tile pastures which are proper to them. The wethers are fre- 
quently killed at the enormous weight of 50 or 60 Ib. the 
quarter. Great numbers of these large sheep may be seen 
pasturing on the rich flats on the Thames, for the supply of 
the London market. The mutton may not be sufficiently de- 
licate for the palates of the opulent, but for the supplies of 
the numerous population of labourers in our large cities, who 
are contented with wholesome, nourishing, and cheap food, the 
mutton of the countries of the fens is as much valued as any 
other in the kingdom. It is of national as well as of private 
concern, therefore, that the modern Lincoln breed should be 
preserved; and he would merit well of the country who should 
devote attention to its improvement. 


The Sheep of these Islands, it has been seen, may be di- 
vided into two general classes : 1. The smaller Sheep, inha- 
biting the mountains, moors, downs, and less fertile tracts, 


and producing, for the most part, short wool, fitted for pre- 
paration by the card, arid the manufacture of cloths ; and, 
2. The larger Sheep, naturalized in the plains, marshes, and 
richer country, producing wool which is long in the filaments, 
and adapted to the manufacture of stuffs termed worsted. 
With the progress of cultivation, and the increased means of 
supplying artificial food, the Long-woolled breeds have been 
continually gaining in numbers upon the Short-woolled. They 
may be divided into those which inhabit the fens and marshes, 
and those which are found in the inland and drier country. 
Of the former class, greatly the most numerous and remark- 
able was the Old Lincolnshire Breed already described, of 
which the remnants only now exist in the unmixed state. 
Another variety of the same class inhabited a limited tract 
of low ground termed Romney Marsh, situated on the south- 
ern coast of Kent, at the western entrance to the Straits of 

Romney Marsh is a plain of alluvial land nearly on the 
level of the sea, protected from the tides by dykes in the 
manner of the marshy flats of Holland. It extends from 
Hythe to the river Rother, about fourteen miles ; and, at its 
broadest part, from Dengeness to Appledore, ten miles. It 
is divided into four districts namely, Romney Marsh Pro- 
per, which is the largest and most westerly division ; Wai- 
land Marsh, the next adjoining to the westward ; Denge 
Marsh, with South-Brooks on the south, and Gtiildford Marsh, 
the greater part of which is in the county of Sussex, on the 
west. This tract was known to the Anglo-Saxons \>y the 
name of Merseware or Mersewarum, and the inhabitants 
were designated by a term signifying marsh-men or fen-men. 
It was early fenced from the overflowings of the sea, and the 
conservation of the dykes and drainage was provided for by 
local laws and observances, which, so long ago as the reign 
of Henry III., were denominated ancient and approved cus- 
toms. The land consists in part of infertile sand, gravel, or 
peat, but essentially of a deep rich alluvial clay, bearing the' 


grasses and other herbage plants abundantly, and never 
having been subjected to the action of the plough. " It ys, f> 
says Leland, " a marvelous rank ground for fedying catel, 
b}' the reason that the grasse groweth plentifully upon the 
wose, sum tyme cast up there by the se." The land is sub- 
divided by rails, and deep ditches filled with stagnant water. 
There are scarcely any hedges or trees to afford shelter. 
The roads are broad miry paths, rudely fenced off from the 
marsh, and scarcely to be passed after heavy falls of rain. 
The inhabitants are few in number, scattered over the flat 
monotonous surface in mean hamlets or villages, and mostly 
employed in tending the numerous Sheep by which the ground 
is depastured. The air is humid from stagnant water, and 
the wealthier possessors of the farms reside, not in the 
marshes, but on the more elevated grounds surrounding 
them ; and the animals which are reared or fattened on the 
marsh, depend on the natural herbage which it produces. 
The principal produce is Sheep, which are reared in greater 
numbers than in any similar space in the kingdom. 

The ancient native Sheep of this district had coarse heads, 
furnished with a tuft of wool ; thick necks, long stout limbs, 
broad feet, narrow chests, flat sides, and great bellies. They 
were of the larger class of Sheep, but yet fell short in weight 
of the heavy-woolled Sheep of the eastern counties. The 
wool weighed 7 lb. or 8 lb., had the usual qualities of long 
wool, was moderately soft, but unequal, and coarse on the 
posterior parts. These Sheep were slow in fattening, the 
wethers being rarely fit for use until they had completed 
their third year; but yet they were favourites with the butch- 
ers, from their yielding a large proportion of internal fat and 
offal. They bore well the exposed maritime situation in 
which they were placed, and acquired the habit of avoiding 
the dangerous ditches by which the country is intersected. 

The modern breed of Romney Marsh, which has extended 
into other parts of Kent, still exhibits much of the charac- 
ters of the ancient family, the individuals being, for the 


most part, long-legged, flat-sided, and coarse in the extre- 
mities. But a surprising change has taken place within 
the present century, and there now exist entire flocks, which 
cannot he recognised as the descendants of the older race. 
This change has arisen in part from intermixture of the New 
Leicester blood, and in part from the increased attention of 
breeders to the form and qualities of the animals. 

The Leicester Breed found its way into these marshes 
more slowly than into most other parts of the kingdom, and 
violent prejudices, not yet subdued, for a time resisted its 
reception. But about the beginning of the present century, 
a general desire began to manifest itself amongst the more 
enlightened breeders, to avail themselves of the means of 
improvement which a breed so highly cultivated as the New 
Leicester presented to them ; and great numbers of rams 
from the midland counties were accordingly introduced by 
individual breeders. The effects were soon apparent, even 
in the flocks of those who were the most opposed to the 
foreign breed ; and it may be doubted if there now exists a 
single long-woolled Sheep in the county of Kent, in which 
the influence of the New Leicester blood does not appear. 
The first effect of the crossing was to reduce the bulk of the 
native Sheep, but to give them a greater symmetry of parts 
and tendency to fatten ; and, independently of the effects, 
direct and indirect, of the mixture, the placing of superior 
models before the eyes of breeders, produced a beneficial 
result throughout the whole district, so that more attention 
was from this period bestowed on improving the native stock 
by selection. After a time, indeed, the feeling in favour of 
the older race began to revive ; and, for a considerable period 
past, the Romney Marsh breeders have, with few exceptions, 
continued to breed from the indigenous stock. Nevertheless, 
the effects of the change produced by the former crossing 
remained, and the modern Sheep of the marsh, although 
still retaining a greater degree of coarseness and lankness 
of body than can be approved of, form a very different race 



of animals from the Kentish Sheep of the beginning of the 
present century. 

The arguments used against the introduction of the more 
cultivated breed were similar to those employed by the 
breeders of the eastern marshes. It was argued, that the 
decrease of size and deterioration of the fleece, were not 
compensated by the earlier maturity, and greater tendency 
to fatten, of the imported breed ; that the latter were less 
saleable to the butchers, and that the ewes were less pro- 
lific, and inferior as nurses. It was contended, besides, that 
the new breed and its descendants were less suited than the 
former to the open marshes on which they were to be reared 
without shelter or artificial food ; and that they were apt to 
be driven into the ditches by the strong gales which at cer- 
tain seasons swept over the marsh. A satisfactory answer 
can be given to the greater part of these objections. The 
decrease of weight was, to a certain extent, more apparent 
than real, arising from a diminution in the size of bone and 
the coarser parts ; and there was always a more than cor- 
responding gain, by the breeders being enabled to bring 
their animals to market at an earlier period. The deprecia- 
tion in the weight and quality of the wool was little in the 
case of this breed ; the wool of the Romney Marsh Sheep 
never having been in the first class, with respect either to 
quality or productiveness. That the new breed was less ac- 
ceptable to the butchers is true ; but this was because the 
fat was more deposited on the external parts, and because 
the offal was less. The interest of the butcher, it is to be 
observed, corresponds only in certain points with that of the 
breeder. The butcher prefers the animals that yield him 
most profit from the parts sold in retail ; but he has no con- 
cern with the quantity of food consumed by them, with the 
period required for bringing them to maturity, or with the 
details of management, which yield a profit to the owner. 
The butchers, as a class, have rarely been the advocates of 
those changes which have added so great a value ;to the live- 


stock of the country ; and, in the preference which they long 
gave to the coarse sheep of Romney Marsh, their opinions 
exercised a peculiarly injurious influence on the breeding of 
Sheep in this part of England. The opinion frequently ex- 
pressed, that the new breed is less productive of lambs than 
the old, does not seem to be well founded. Generally, in- 
deed, all the coarser varieties of sheep are better nurses, and 
more prolific, than the more highly improved, under similar 
treatment. But it does not appear that the Romney Marsh 
Sheep were ever peculiarly noted for producing numerous 
lambs, or for being good nurses. No sheep in this country 
had so much difficulty in parturition, or were so apt to desert 
their offspring, as the Romney Marsh ewes. With respect 
to the averment, that the old breed was better suited than 
the new to withstand the stormy climate of the marsh, and 
preserve itself from the open ditches with which the country 
is intersected, it is to be observed, that some truth, mixed 
with more of error, exists in the statement. The New Lei- 
cester Breed is reared with facility in situations greatly more 
cold and exposed than the Romney Marsh, which possesses 
as good a climate, with respect to temperature, as exists in 
England. That the Romney Marsh Breed is better calcu- 
lated to preserve itself from the accidents resulting from the 
open ditches of the country than a breed naturalized in a dif- 
ferent situation, may be admitted ; but the danger itself ought 
to be provided against by suitable enclosing, and not used as 
an argument against the cultivation of a superior breed. Fur- 
ther, the fact, if it shall be admitted, that the one breed is bet- 
ter fitted than the other to subsist without artificial food and 
shelter, is no argument against the reception of the superior 
breed, but a strong one in favour of a better system of ma- 
nagement. There cannot be a doubt that the Sheep of the 
Romney Marsh have been signally benefited by the blood of 
the New Leicester race. The Romney Marsh breeders may 
now please themselves by believing that their own breed is 
superior to the imported one ; and no harm will result from 


the opinion, provided they discard their other prejudices, and 
breed from the best of their own stock, and upon a suitable 
model. The long and constant error of the Kentish breeders 
was their looking to size more than to the other qualities in- 
dicative of a good stock of Sheep. Size, indeed; is not to be 
disregarded in any breed reared in a country of rich pastures ; 
but that just conformation of parts, which indicates the dis- 
position to arrive at early maturity and fatten readily, is yet 
more to be regarded. 


The Sheep of the marshes and fens are represented by the 
Lincolnshire and Romney Marsh Breeds already described. 
Minor varieties of the same breeds existed in detached allu- 
vial tracts along the coasts ; but they were confined to nar- 
row localities, and have now all merged in the races of the 
adjoining districts. The other class of breeds consists of those 
which have been naturalized in the valleys, plains, and richer 
tracts of the inland parts. The great district of these breeds 
is the rich tract of the new red sandstone, which, commencing 
with the country of the Tees, extends southward by the Vales 
of York and Trent to the lower valley of the Severn, and 
thence again northward ; although, it is to be observed, that 
it is chiefly in the eastern and midland counties that these 
breeds are found, and that, as we approach to the western 
limits of the new red sandstone in the north of Staffordshire, 
Cheshire, and Lancashire, the long-woolled breeds are in 
smaller numbers, and mixed with, or allied to, the ancient 
breeds of the forests, wastes, and chases. 

The most remarkable of the inland breeds was the Old 
Teeswater, so named from the valley of the beautiful river 
which separates the counties of York and Durham. This 
valley is exceedingly fertile, though of limited extent ; but 
the breed to which it gave a name extended, with some 


change of characters, northward into Durham, and south- 
ward through the greater part of Yorkshire, until it merged 
in the heavy-woolled Sheep of the marshes on the one hand, 
and those of Leicestershire and the other midland counties 
on the other. The true Teeswater Sheep, as reared in their 
native valley, were of the larger class, very tall, bearing a 
long but not a very thick fleece, inferior only in toughness 
and length of filaments to that of the ancient Lincolns. The 
wool was, however, more hard, less uniform in the staple, 
and very coarse towards the extremities. These Sheep were 
of an exceedingly uncouth form. They had coarse heads, large 
round haunches, and long stout limbs. They were slow in 
fattening, and required for their support good pastures, with 
a supply of hay and corn. They were the most prolific of all 
our races of Sheep, bearing usually two, and not unfrequently 
three, lambs at a birth ; and they were surpassed by no other 
Sheep in the faculty of yielding milk. This coarse and heavy 
breed has now entirely disappeared in its original form. The 
New Leicester Breed progressively extended northward 
through the Vale of York, and at a still earlier period had 
been established in Northumberland, by breeders, the con- 
temporaries of Bakewell. Under these circumstances, the 
older breed of the Tees soon gave place to the new breed of 
the Midland Counties, either by substitution of the one for 
the other, or by the effects of crossing. At the commence- 
ment of the present century, a few individual Sheep only of 
the older breed were to be found in the hands of some old 
farmers, unwilling to relinquish preconceived opinions and 
habits. At the present time, not one living example, perhaps, 
remains of the true Old Teeswater Breed. The only traces 
of it that present themselves are in the largeness of size of 
the sheep of particular breeders, who have continued to pre- 
fer a stock of larger sheep to the more modern variety of 
higher breeding. 

Proceeding southward, the Teeswater and its varieties 
gradually merged in the former breeds of Leicestershire and 


the adjoining counties. These latter varieties were smaller 
than the true Teeswater, but of figures equally ungainly. 
They had coarse heads, thick hides, and long lank bodies ; 
and, corresponding with the defects of their external form, 
was their slowness in fattening and arriving at the required 
maturity. A Earn of the Warwickshire variety is described 
by Mr Marshall as having " a frame large and remarkably 
loose, his bone heavy, his legs long and thick, terminating in 
great splaw feet, his chine, as well as his rump, sharp as a 
hatchet, his skin rattling on his ribs." The wool of these 
sheep varied with the locality, but generally it was inferior 
in weight, shorter in the staple, and more slender in the fila- 
ments, than that of the genuine Teeswater. All these varie- 
ties of sheep have disappeared, so that not a living example 
of them is to be found ; and their place has been long taken 
by the beautiful breed, to which reference has been so fre- 
quently made, and of which more especial notice will be 
taken in the sequel. 

In the western counties, from the southern division of 
Staffordshire northward to the Solway Firth, the long-woolled 
varieties were rare, and found only in a few places. They 
were all of the coarsest kinds of sheep, and inferior in weight 
of body to those of the eastern and midland counties. Some 
of them lingered until a recent period in the lower parts of 
Westmoreland and Cumberland, and some of them extended 
across the Solway into the west of Scotland. They have 
now all disappeared, or left only indistinct traces of their for- 
mer existence in the flocks of a few careless Sheep-masters. 
It is not known whether Scotland originally possessed a na- 
tive race of Long-woolled Sheep ; but sheep of this kind were 
early in the last century introduced into the south-eastern 
border counties, and, about the time of the American war, 
were largely mixed in blood with the improved New Leicester. 

Another district of Long-woolled Sheep is found in England 
just beyond the tract of the lias and oolite limestone, in the 
counties of Devon and Somerset. One variety of them in- 


habited the southern part of Devonshire from the Vale of 
Honiton westward, and another was found more to the north 
stretching to the river Parret in Somersetshire. The first 
of these varieties, termed Southam Notts, had brown faces 
and legs, crooked limbs, and flat sides. They carried a fleece 
of long wool, moderately soft, weighing from 9 Ib. to 10 lb., 
and at 30 months old the wethers weighed from 22 lb. to 
25 lb. the quarter. The other variety was termed Bampton 
Notts, from the village of that name on the confines of the 
counties of Devon and Somerset. They had white faces, 
bore a very weighty fleece of long wool, and weighed at two 
years old from 30 lb. to 35 lb. the quarter. These breeds 
have been largely crossed with the New Leicester, and may 
be said to be now extinct in their pure state. The first mix- 
ture of blood produced at once animals greatly superior to 
the older race. The defect of these sheep was their clumsy 
forms and thick hides, and consequent indisposition to fatten. 
These faults have been entirely corrected by the crossing 
that has taken place, although this was more tardily carried 
into effect in Devonshire than in any other part of England : 
and, on the basis of the older breeds, has been formed a very 
fine race of sheep, diminished in bulk of body from the ori- 
ginal Bamptons, but still amongst the largest sheep in the 
kingdom. Thus a wether of mixed blood, killed in 1835, had 
arrived at the prodigious weight of 70 lb. the quarter ; and one 
lately living in the neighbourhood of Exeter weighed 430 lb. 
live weight. The breeders of Devonshire take a just pride 
in their newly-formed breed, but do not seem disposed to 
reduce the size to the standard approved of by the Leicester 



Ireland, from the fertility of the soil, the humidity of the cli- 
mate, and the mildness of the winters, is well suited for the 
rearing of Sheep of the larger kind; and Sheep appear, in every 


known period, to have existed in numbers throughout the 
country. They consisted partly of Short-woolled breeds, to 
which reference has been already made, and partly of a Long- 
woolled race, which extended with pretty uniform characters 
over the greater part of the level country. This latter race was 
of large size, and of a form peculiarly coarse and unthrifty. 
They are described by Mr Culley as they were seen by him at 
the fair of Ballinasloe, in the latter part of last century, 
thus : " I am sorry to say I never saw such ill-formed 
ugly sheep as these : the worst breeds we have in Great 
Britain are much superior. One would almost imagine 
that the sheep-breeders in Ireland have taken as much 
pains to breed plain awkward sheep, as many of the people 
in England have to breed handsome ones. I know nothing 
to recommend them except their size, which might please 
some old-fashioned breeders, who can get no kind of stock 
large enough. But I will endeavour to describe them, 
and leave my readers to judge for themselves. These 
sheep are supported by long, thick, crooked, and gray legs ; 
their heads long and ugly, with large flagging ears, gray faces, 
and eyes sunk, necks long, and set on below the shoulders ; 
breasts narrow and short, hollow before and behind the 
shoulders ; flat- sided, with high narrow herring backs ; hind 
quarters drooping, and tail set low. In short, they are al- 
most in every respect contrary to what I apprehend a well- 
formed sheep should be." * Of the fidelity of this description 
no doubt can be entertained, although the change that has 
since taken place is so great as to leave little likeness of the 
former picture. There yet remain, indeed, some of the dis- 
tinctive characters of the older family, the large heads, the 
flat sides., the narrow breasts ; but all that excessive ugliness 
of form which placed the Irish below the worst breeds of 
England, may be said to have disappeared. This has been 
the result of crossing with the New Leicester Breed, which 
began about the time Mr Culley wrote, and has been con- 

* Culley on Live Stock. 


tinned since with such success that it is now difficult to find 
an individual of the unmixed race in the whole country. 
Many of the wealthier breeders acquired at once flocks of the 
pure New Leicester Breed ; but the main effect was produced 
by crossing, which everywhere took place with a rapidity 
which may well be deemed remarkable in a country where 
so defective a state of property exists, and where so many 
obstacles counteract the natural course of improvement. 

But the present Long-woolled Sheep of Ireland still want 
much of the perfection at which they are capable of arriving. 
They are yet, for the most part, too coarse in their general 
form, narrow in the chest, and flat-sided. The wool is only of 
medium quality and weight; and there is a sort of harshness 
about it, which shews that the long wool of Ireland was never 
of good quality. The breed is more valued by the butcher 
in its present state than when more highly improved ; but 
there is manifestly too great a proportion of waste for the 
profit of the breeder, and it does not appear that the mutton 
is superior to that of the New Leicesters. It is the fear of 
many breeders in Ireland, that the system of crossing has 
been carried too far, and that the Sheep of the country are 
becoming too small. The same fear was entertained by the 
owners of the Teeswater, the Romney Marsh, and other 
Long-woolled Sheep of England, when the Leicester blood 
was first introduced. But time allayed these misapprehen- 
sions, at least to the extent to which they were at first ex- 
cited ; and although, in many districts of England, the breeders 
seem now disposed to resist the further change of their stock 
by crossing, this was not until after a larger infusion of the 
blood of the new breed than has yet taken place in the great 
mass of the Long-woolled Sheep of Ireland, which certainly 
cannot be said to have arrived at a degree of refinement in- 
jurious to their useful qualities. They have still, for the most 
part, too great length of limbs with relation to the depth of 
carcass ; and their apparent bulk of body may yet be materially 
lessened without diminution of the weight. 



The Cotswold Breed of Sheep derives its name from a 
tract of low calcareous hills in the eastern division of the 
county of Gloucester, forming a part of the great Oolite for- 
mation of England, which, commencing with the moorlands 
of Yorkshire, stretches diagonally across the island, and loses 
itself in the British Channel, near the Isle of Portland. The 
Gloucester portion of this tract is of moderate elevation, com- 
paratively infertile, yet capable of cultivation, and yielding 
in the natural state a short sweet herbage. It was formerly 
a range of bleak wastes, employed in the pasturage of Sheep, 
and much of it was in the state of common ; but with the 
progress of the last century, the commons were appropriated, 
and cultivation was extended. It derives its name from Cote, 
a sheep-fold, and Would, a naked hill. It was early noted 
for the numbers of sheep which it maintained, and the fine- 
ness and abundance of their wool. " In these woulds," says 
the translator of Camden, " they feed in great numbers flockes 
of sheep, long-necked and square of bulk and bone, by reason 
(as is commonly thought) of the weally and hilly situation of 
their pasturage, whose wool, being most fine and soft, is held 
in passing great account amongst all nations." Other writers 
refer to the excellence and abundance of the wool of the Cots- 
wold Wolds. Drayton contrasts the rich fleeces of Cotswold 
with those of the flocks of Sarum and Leominster, and gives the 
palm to Cotswold for its more abundant produce.* The faith- 
ful and laborious Stowe, in his Chronicles, states, that, in the 
year 1464, King Edward IV. " concluded an amnesty and 
league with King Henry of Castill, and John, King of Ara- 
gon, at the concluding whereof, hee granted licence for cer- 

* " T' whom Sarum's plaine gives place, though famous for its flocks ; 
Yet hardly doth she tythe our Cotswolde's wealthy locks : 
Though Lemster him exceed in finenesse of her ore, 
Yet quite he puts her downe for his abundant store." 



tain Coteswold Sheepe to be transported into the country of 
Spaine, which have there since mightily increased and multi- 
plied to the Spanish profit, as it is said." The worthy writer 
is not so well satisfied as some of his countrymen, that the 
Spaniards owed all their Sheep to England; for, adds he, "true 
it is, that long ere this were Sheepe in Spaine, as may appear by 
a patent of King Henry the Second, granting to the weavers 
of London, that if any cloth were found to be made of Spanish 
wool, mixed with English wool, the maior of London should see 
it brent. 55 Adam Speed, who wrote in 1629, describes the 
wool of the Cotswold Sheep as similar to that of the Ryeland. 
" In Herefordshire, especially about Lempster, and on those 
famous hills called Cotswold Hills, sheep are fed that pro- 
duce a singular good wool, which, for fineness, comes very 
near to that of Spain, for from it a thread may be drawn as 
fine as silk.' 5 The precise character of the Sheep which pro- 
duced this wool is now unknown. They were probably simi- 
lar to the large fine-woolled breeds of the adjoining counties 
of Wilts and Berks, a supposition which agrees with the 
locality of the districts, and with " the long necks and square 
of bulk and bone" ascribed to the Cotswold Sheep by Camden, 
and explains the distinction of Drayton between the wealthy 
locks of Cotswold, and the^ less abundant ore of Lemster. 
Markham, indeed, a writer of the time of Elizabeth, speaks of 
the Cotswold Sheep as having long wool, but this testimony 
cannot weigh against the direct authority of Speed in a later 
age ; and it may be believed, that the term long, as used by 
Markham, is merely relative, as applied to the two kinds of 

The Sheep, however, which now possess the same country, 
and have inhabited it beyond the memory of the living gene- 
ration, are a Long-woolled race, and thus entirely distinct 
from the Sheep of the ancient forests, wolds, and downs, which 
produced the former fine wool of England. They are of the 
larger class of British Sheep, and all their characters denote 
them to be a breed of the plains and richer country. The 


period of their introduction is unknown ; but it probably took 
place pretty late in the last century, with the appropriation 
of the commons, and the extension of tillage in a degree suf- 
ficient to supply artificial food to a larger kind of animal. A 
traditionary belief has always existed in the country, that 
the modern race is not the original one of the Cotswold 
Wolds ; but no intelligible account can be obtained from any 
one now living of the time or manner of its introduction. It 
was probably derived from the upper part of Oxfordshire, or 
from Warwickshire, the ancient breed of which it seems in 
some respects to have resembled ; and the change may have 
been chiefly produced by crossing. Mr Marshall and some 
intelligent writers, indeed, have believed that the Cotswold 
Sheep have always been a Long-woolled breed, and have 
cited, in support of this opinion, the absence of any information 
to be obtained in the district itself regarding the supposed 
change of breeds. But we know how quickly the memory of 
such events is effaced, and that changes as great as that in 
the Cotswold Sheep have occurred in all parts of the king- 
dom, without our having the means of obtaining any account 
of them after the lapse of a short period. It would be op- 
posed to all that we know of the natural history of the Sheep, 
to suppose that a tract of country so recently cultivated and 
enclosed as the Cotswold Hills, could have maintained on its 
natural herbage one of the largest races of Sheep in England, 
and communicated to it the property of growing long wool. 
Such a race, we must suppose, was indigenous to the plains, 
and has merely taken the place of an older breed, in a man- 
ner similar to that which has been continually occurring 
during the last fifty years over a great part of the British 

But the Long-woolled Sheep of the Cotswold hills have 
themselves undergone an important change within a period 
comparatively recent. They were formerly of greater bulk 
of body and coarser forms, and are said to have borne a greater 
weight of wool than they now yield. But about sixty years 


ago, the New Leicester Breed, on its extension throughout 
the central counties, was made to cross the Cotswold as well 
as all the Long-woolled sheep of Gloucestershire. This sys- 
tem of crossing was pursued so extensively, that after a time 
there did not, perhaps, exist a single Cotswold flock which 
was not more or less mixed in blood with the New Leicester 
Breed. The effect was, as in other cases, to diminish the 
bulk of body of the existing breed, and lessen the produce of 
wool, but to communicate to the individuals a greater deli- 
cacy of form. Between twenty and thirty years ago, how- 
ever, the Cotswold breeders began to apprehend that their 
flocks were losing too much in carcass and fleece, and be- 
coming less fitted for the climate of their native hills. From 
this period, a preference began to be given to the native stock, 
and for many years past, crossing has been scarcely practised, 
and most of the breeders have been desirous to revert more 
to the former model of their breed. 

The modern Cotswold Sheep are of a size somewhat supe- 
rior to the highest bred New Leicesters, and their wool is 
more close upon the body. The staple measures from 6 to 8 
inches, and the fleece weighs, upon a medium, from 7 to 8 lb., 
that of the inferior flocks not exceeding 5 and 6 lb. It is 
strong, of a good colour, rather coarse, but of a mellow 
quality. These sheep have not been brought to the same 
perfection of form as the New Leicester, and, like the sheep 
of Romney Marsh, they tend to accumulate fat on the rump 
almost to the degree of producing deformity ; but they are 
hardy, and usually of sound constitutions. The females are 
prolific, and good nurses, and the lambs are early covered with 
a close fleece. At a former period, when tillage was less 
extended than now, the Cotswold Sheep were frequently sent 
in winter to the valleys of the Thames and Severn, and gene- 
rally sold in the lean state at between two and three years 
old. But since the old sheep-walks have been broken up, and 
turnips and artificial grasses cultivated, the greater part of 
the sheep that are reared in the country are likewise fattened 


in it. They are kept on turnips, vetches, hay, and the grasses 
and clovers, and disposed of in the fat state at from a year 
and a-half to two years old ; and within these last seven or 
eight years, the practice has been introduced of bringing them 
to market at twelve or fourteen months old. At the latter 
age they weigh from 15 to 24 Ib. the quarter ; and, when from 
a year and a-half to two years old, their medium weight is 
calculated to be from 20 to 30 Ib. the quarter. 

The Cotswold Breed, after having long yielded to the pro- 
gress of the more highly cultivated New Leicester, has of 
recent years been attracting the attention of general breeders, 
and is now contesting the ground with the Leicester in various 
districts of England and Wales. The qualities that in an 
especial degree recommend it to notice are, its hardiness and 
property of thriving under common treatment, and the faculty 
of the females of yielding numerous lambs, and supporting 
them well. The breed is still far short of the New Leicester 
in form, but it has been making continued advances to a more 
perfect state, by the increased attention bestowed on selection 
and general treatment. The system of letting Rams for hire 
has been adopted on the large scale by some of the Cotswold 
breeders ; and from the attention which this necessarily di- 
rects to the rearing of superior males, it cannot be doubted 
that the Cotswold Breed will be yet further extended and 


The Breed of Sheep termed the New Leicester, is so named 
from the county of Leicester, where it had its origin. It was 
formed by Robert Bakewell of Dishley, whence it is likewise 
termed the Dishley Breed. It was about the year 1755, that 
Mr Bakewell began those experiments on the breeding of 
animals, which led to such important results. His purpose 
was to produce sheep exempt from the defects of the races 


then cultivated, and possessed of a greater aptitude to fatten 
and arrive at early maturity ; and the means which he em- 
ployed were, breeding from the individuals, possessed of the 
properties sought for, and rendering these properties perma- 
nent in the offspring. It is known that, by continued selec- 
tion of the male and female parents in a given number of 
animals, the characters deemed defects can, under certain 
limits, be removed, and the acquired properties rendered per- 
manent in the progeny by continued reproduction with one 
another. The principle that the virtues of parents are com- 
municated to their young, was not newly discovered ; but it 
was reserved for Bakewell to apply it in the case of the ani- 
mals used for human food in a new manner, and to produce 
more remarkable results than had before been arrived at. 
He perfectly understood the relation which exists between 
the external form of an animal and its aptitude to become fat 
in a short time. He saw that this relation did not depend 
upon size, nor, in the case of the Sheep, on the power of the 
individual to yield a large quantity of wool. He therefore 
departed from the practice of all former breeders of the Long- 
woolled Sheep, who had regarded size and abundant growth 
of wool as primary properties in the parents. Holding bulk 
of body, and the produce of the fleece, to be secondary pro- 
perties, Bakewell directed especial attention to the external 
form which indicates the property of yielding the largest 
quantity of muscle and fat, with the least bone, and what is 
usually termed offal. He aimed, too, it is said, at producing 
the fat on the most valuable parts ; but this is merely a sub- 
sidiary property, dependent upon general harmony of con- 
formation. Progressively perfecting his animals by skilful 
selection, he necessarily continued to breed from his own 
stock, and did not scruple to connect together animals the 
nearest allied in blood to one another. This system, con- 
tinually pursued, not only gave a permanency to the charac- 
ters imprinted on his sheep, constituting a breed, in the pro- 
per sense of the term, but tended to produce that delicacy of 


form, which experience shews to be connected with the power 
of secreting fat, and arriving at early maturity, or what may 
be termed premature age. The system, acted upon for suc- 
cessive generations, tended likewise to render the animals 
more the creatures of an artificial condition, more delicate in 
temperament as well as in form, less prolific of lambs, and 
less capable of supplying milk to their offspring. It cannot 
be supposed that Bakewell was unobservant of these effects ; 
but he appears to have regarded them as being of a con- 
sideration secondary to the property of producing, in the 
shortest time, the largest quantity of fat, with the least con- 
sumption of herbage and other food. That this was the 
main result at which he aimed, all his practice shews ; and 
his success corresponded with the skill and perseverance 
with which he applied his principles to practice. His stock 
became gradually known and appreciated in the country 
around him ; but it was not until after the lapse of nearly a 
quarter of a century, that it arrived at that general estima- 
tion in which it was afterwards held. He early conceived the 
idea of letting his rams for the season, in place of selling 
them. The plan was ridiculed and opposed in every way, 
and it was not until after the labour of many years, that he 
succeeded in establishing it as a regular system. It is said 
that his rams were first let, in 1760, at 17s. 6d. each ; but this 
was certainly before his breed had arrived at its ultimate 
perfection. His usual price afterwards became a guinea, 
and, in rarer cases, two or three ; but the price rapidly ad- 
vanced with the increasing reputation of his stock. In 
1784-5, the price had risen to about 100 guineas for his best 
rams. In 1786, he made about 1000 guineas by the letting 
of his stock ; and in 1789, he made 1200 guineas by three 
rams, and 2000 guineas by seven ; and in the same year, he made 
3000 guineas more by letting the remainder of his rams to the 
Dishley Society, then instituted. These facts deserve to be re- 
corded, as manifesting the high estimation in which the breed 
of Bakewell was held as soon as its properties became known. 



Controversies have arisen regarding the parent stock from 
which Bakewell produced his breed. He himself chose to 
adopt a studied mystery on the subject. Some have imagined 
that the basis of his breed was the Old Lincolnshire, some 
the Tees water, some the Warwickshire, while others con- 
tend that he crossed with the By eland, the South Down, the 
Cham wood Forest, or some other of the Short-woolled breeds, 
in order to communicate that fineness of bone, and peculiar 
character of wool, distinctive of' his breed. But whatever 
were the first experiments of Bakewell, the knowledge of 
them perished with the individual ; and there is nothing in 
the breed, as it was at length perfected, which can enable us 
to explain the progressive steps by which its characters were 
acquired. In one of his letters to Mr Chaplin, he admits that 
he had at one time made use of Old Lincoln rams ; but he 
states, at the same time, that he had not done so for many 
years, and he ever afterwards expressed the utmost dislike 
of this coarse and unthrifty breed, which was, indeed, the 
most removed of any other from the model which his own 
principles of breeding led him to adopt. Neither was the 
Old Teeswater one which presented the characters required. 
This, it has been seen, was a very large and coarse breed, 
and not one, therefore, which Bakewell was likely to select 
as the basis of a stock, of which he sought rather to diminish 
than increase the size. Besides, the wool of the Old Tees- 
water Breed was extremely long in the filaments, and differed 
greatly in this respect from the shorter and finer fleece ac- 
quired by the New Leicesters. All the presumption is, that 
the basis of Bakewell' s breed was the Long-woolled Sheep 
of the midland counties, from which he may be supposed to 
have made such selection as suited his purposes. On his 
obtaining his paternal farm, he would necessarily succeed to 
a stock of sheep similar to that which existed on the neigh- 
bouring farms, and it would only be in accordance with the 
practice of ordinary caution, that he should endeavour to im- 
prove this stock rather than at once adopt another of a dif- 



ferent race. It is commonly believed, that a little before 
the improvements of Bakewell, one breeder, at least, in the 
county of Leicester, had acquired the distinction of possessing 
superior sheep, and disposed of rams for the purpose of breed- 
ing. Whether Bakewell owed anything to the anterior im- 
provements of others, is unknown. From what we know of 
his character and habits, he himself would have been the last 
to acknowledge his obligations to another breeder ; but he 
used such precautions for concealing the sources from which 
he derived the means of improving his animals, as may well 
favour the suspicion that he was not wholly without obliga- 
tions to the labours of his cotemporaries or predecessors. 
With respect to the opinion that he crossed his stock with 
the Short-woolled Sheep, it rests upon no actual knowledge 
of the fact. It appears that he made numerous experiments 
in the early period of his breeding ; and it is not impossible 
that he may have made a partial cross by such animals as 
seemed to suit his purposes, without reference to their origin. 
A certain darkness of colour in the skin of the face of his 
Sheep may seem to favour the opinion that he had made a 
cross with some of the dark-faced Down or Forest breeds ; 
but we do not know whether the Old Leicesters did not, like 
the Southam Notts, and some others of the larger varieties, 
possess something of this peculiarity. With regard to the 
delicacy of form, and shortness of wool, of the New Leicester 
Breed, it is not necessary to account for their existence by 
resorting to the supposition of a mixture of blood with any of 
the short-woolled races. Both characters were necessarily 
communicated by the system of breeding which Bakewell 
pursued. Not only did he regard the growth of wool as 
a secondary effect, but he appears to have entertained the 
opinion, that the production of a large quantity of wool was 
inconsistent with the property of yielding much fat ; and this 
opinion would necessarily conduct him to the choice of ani- 
mals for breeding which produced a lighter fleece. Besides, 
the Sheep of the midland counties did not always produce 


wool which was long in the staple. A part of the counties of 
Leicester and Warwick lies in a calcareous country favour- 
able to the production of the shorter and finer kinds of wool ; 
and the wool of the Old Warwickshire Sheep, in particular, 
appears to have closely approximated to that of the modern 
Leicesters. There is no reason, therefore, to assume, from 
any of the characters presented by the wool of the New Lei- 
cester Breed, that the parent stock was any other than the 
Long-woolled Sheep of the midland counties. 

The New Leicester Sheep, though smaller in bulk of body 
than the long-woolled races which they supplanted, are yet 
of the larger class of Sheep with respect to weight. Their 
limbs being shorter, and their bodies more round, compact, 
and deep, than in the former breeds, they are of greater 
weight in proportion to their apparent bulk. Their actual 
size is various, depending on the wishes of breeders to pos- 
sess larger or smaller animals, and on the fertility, natural 
or acquired, of the districts in which they are reared. In 
general, it may be said that the wethers weigh from 25 Ib. 
to 35 Ib. the quarter, when fattened in their second year. 
The wool is of medium length, having a staple of from six to 
eight inches, and weighing about 7^ Ib. the fleece in Sheep 
of fifteen or sixteen months old. It is too short and weak 
to be admitted into the first class of combing wools, and, in 
the properties which fit it for the manufacture of worsted, it 
falls short of the wool of the older breeds. Nevertheless it 
is more evenly grown, is soft, and of good colour, and pos- 
sesses several properties of long wool in perfection. 

But it is neither in the size or weight of body, nor in the 
productiveness or quality of the wool, that the real value of 
the New Leicester Breed consists. Its value and superiority 
are to be found in its more perfect form, and aptitude to 
fatten at an early age, in which respects it surpasses all the 
other varieties of Long-woolled Sheep which have been culti- 
vated in this country, or naturalized in any part of Europe. 
The New Leicester Sheep can, under the ordinary manage- 


ment of the farm, be readily fattened for human food at the 
age of fifteen months, that is, when, in the language of far- 
mers, they are shearlings ; and in no case of practice do they 
need to exceed the age of two years and a few months, 
whereas the older breeds were not usually fattened for the 
market until late in their third, or until their fourth year. 
The females are not regarded as so prolific as those of the 
older breeds, nor are the lambs so hardy or quickly covered 
with a coat of wool, nor are the mothers such good nurses ; 
and yet the breed is not deficient in these properties, except 
where such refinement of breeding has been practised as to 
produce a too delicate temperament. In this breed the hind 
and fore quarters more nearly approximate in weight than 
in the less cultivated varieties. The fatty tissue, too, is 
more equally spread over the external muscles, and tends to 
accumulate less about the kidneys and internal parts, and 
hence the breed has never been so much a favourite with the 
butchers as the less improved races. The flesh, as of all the 
long-woolled breeds, is more lax in the fibre, and less deli- 
cate, than that of the smaller breeds of the mountains, 
forests, and downs; but the mutton does not seem in any 
respect to have been inferior to that of the older breeds of 
the same class. 

Mr Bakewell, it has been said, early conceived the idea of 
letting his ranis on hire in place of selling them to the 
breeders. The animals were exhibited at Dishley at a stated 
time, in the latter end of July, or beginning of August; and 
the hirers put their own valuation on the rams they selected, 
and the offers were accepted or refused, without any auction. 
Certain conditions were understood or stipulated for, but no 
written legal agreement was made, every thing being trusted 
to the honour of the parties. About the middle of Septem- 
ber, the animals were sent to their destination in carriages 
hung on springs, and about the beginning of December, the 
hirer was expected to return them in safety ; but if a ram 
died from any cause while in the hands of the hirer, the loss 


fell upon the owner. The whole system manifested a won- 
derful degree of confidence and mutual good faith, and con- 
tributed, in an essential degree, to the diffusion of the new 
breed. Contemporaries and successors of Mr Bakewell 
adopted the same plan, and the sums expended by distant 
breeders in procuring, by this simple mean, the new breed of 
which Leicester was the centre, were surprisingly great. 
Up to the present time the practice has been carried on by 
breeders of the first distinction, some of whom acquired the 
unrivalled stock of Bakewell after his death, and are under- 
stood to have preserved it unmixed to the present hour. Nor 
was this system long confined to the county of Leicester, but 
it extended to other parts of the kingdom. Mr Culley, who 
had been a pupil of Bake well's, early established it on the 
large scale in the north of England, in the county of North- 
umberland, and various breeders, whose stock had acquired 
the necessary breeding and reputation, adopted it ; so that 
there was scarcely a district of the Long-woolled Sheep in 
which one or more breeders did not pursue the practice of 
letting rams. Not only did the system facilitate the diffu- 
sion of the new breed, but it contributed in an eminent de- 
gree to maintain its purity and goodness. It even enabled 
a certain class of breeders to direct attention to the rearing 
of rams as a distinct profession, and thus created a division 
of labour in the practice of breeding singularly conducive to 
its perfection. 

The formation of the New Leicester Breed of Sheep may 
be said to form an era in the economical history of the do- 
mestic animals, and may well confer distinction on the indi- 
vidual who had talent to conceive, and fortitude to perfect, 
the design. The result was not only the creation of a breed 
by art, but the establishment of principles which are of uni- 
versal application in the production of animals for human 
food. It has shewn that there are other properties than 
size, and the kind and abundance of the wool, which render 
a race of Sheep profitable to the breeder ; that a disposition 


to assimilate nourishment readily, and arrive at early ma- 
turity, are properties to be essentially regarded ; and that 
these properties have a constant relation to a given form, 
which can be communicated from the parents to the young, 
and rendered permanent by a mixture of the blood of the 
animals to which this form has been transmitted. Bake- 
well, doubtless, carried his principles to the limits to which 
they could be carried with safety and profit to the owner of 
Sheep. Looking to symmetry and usefulness of form as the 
essential characters to be cultivated, he was too apt to re- 
gard the others, not merely as secondary, but as unimport- 
ant. He is reported to have said that he did not care whe- 
ther his Sheep produced wool at all ; and he endeavoured, 
on all occasions, to shew the inutility of size as compared 
with the fattening property. But a close and abundant 
growth of wool, it is known, is connected with a healthy 
state of the system, and with the power of the animals to 
resist cold and atmospheric changes ; and a certain size is 
found, by the experience of all breeders of Sheep, to be an 
element in the profit to be derived from them. Every owner 
of Sheep is taught by the result, that an animal of a size to 
fatten to 40 Ibs. the quarter, is more profitable than one that 
is capable of reaching only to 30 Ibs. in the same time. 
Weight of body, therefore, and the nature and productive- 
ness of the fleece, are not to be overlooked in the cultivation 
of Sheep ; and although they may be regarded as secondary 
properties, they cannot be held to be unimportant ones. " But 
if Bakewell carried his principles of breeding to an extreme, 
there is no reason why his successors should not now profit 
by the knowledge acquired by observation and experience, 
and cultivate a profitable size, and suitable fleece, as far as 
these consist with the other properties sought for. Bake- 
well was compelled, in a sense, to confine himself to his own 
stock, and to the blood of one family, in order to preserve 
that standard of form which he had produced. From the 
subsequent multiplication of the New Leicester Breed, 


modern breeders are relieved from all necessity of this kind. 
They can obtain individuals of the form required from dif- 
feVent flocks of the same breed, and need never, by a con- 
tinued adherence to the blood of one family, produce animals 
too delicate in form, deficient in weight of wool, and in that 
hardiness and soundness of constitution, which are even more 
necessary than the perfectness of individual form, for the 
safety and profit of the breeder. The sacrifice of the second- 
ary properties which Bakewell did not hesitate to make, was 
the result of circumstances which do not now exist ; and the 
present feeling of breeders is to maintain a larger and more 
robust form of the animals than seemed good to the earlier 
improvers. Thus, the Cotswold Breed of Sheep, though far 
inferior in form to the pure New Leicester, is maintaining a 
successful rivalship with it over a large extent of country : 
the lowland Gloucestershire, the Devonshire, and many of 
the Lincolnshire agriculturists, are propagating a larger race 
than is approved of by the Leicester breeders ; and even in 
the north of England, where the Leicester Breed was early 
established, a heavier race is preferred to the purest of the 
Dishley stock. 

But whatever diversities of opinion may exist with respect 
to the degree of breeding, as it may be called, which it is ad- 
visable to communicate to the several varieties of Sheep now 
comprehended under the common denomination of Leicester, 
no doubt can be entertained of the great benefits conferred on 
the breeders of the country by the formation and diffusion of 
the beautiful breed of Bakewell. Its superiority over all the 
older races of the long-woolled districts is attested by the 
degree in which it supplanted them, and the eagerness with 
which it was everywhere received. In less jthan fifty years 
from the first establishment of the shows of Dishley, it had 
either superseded all the older Long-woolled Sheep of the 
country, or been so mingled with them in blood, as to have 
effaced their former distinctions. Not only did it supplant 
or become mixed with the older races of heavy Sheep, but, 


after a time, it effected an important change in a great part 
of the lighter Sheep of the country. In many cases it has 
become mixed in blood with them, and in many it has caused 
a substitution of the heavy-woolled for the light, over large 
tracts of the country, so that entire districts, which, little 
more than twenty years ago, were stocked with the Short- 
woolled breeds, have not now one flock of them remaining. 
In every way, then, the diffusion of this breed has added to 
the value of the live stock of the country. It has caused a 
superior race of animals to be reared in former districts of 
the Down arid Forest Breeds, and extended over the richer 
country one more suited for general cultivation than the 
older and coarser races ; and has been the means of commu- 
nicating to the former varieties of Long-woolled Sheep a uni- 
formity of character eminently favourable to further improve- 
ment, by multiplying the animals of a given breed which can 
be selected for breeding. It has even improved the agricul- 
ture of the country in an eminent degree, by calling forth a 
larger production of forage and nerbage plants, for supplying 
food to a superior race of animals. 

Objections have been, from time to time, urged against the 
extension of this breed, founded on its supposed inferiority 
in size, in growth of wool, in hardiness, and fecundity of the 
females, to some of the breeds which it supplanted. The 
inferiority in size has been generally exaggerated with rela- 
tion to this breed, and in all cases it produces a greater 
weight with the same bulk of body ; and even where it is 
deficient in weight, there has been a compensation in that 
tendency to arrive at an earlier maturity, in which it emi- 
nently excels all the races which have preceded it. If the 
wool shall be less in quantity, or inferior in certain proper- 
ties, to that of some of the older varieties, it must not be for- 
gotten, that the most esteemed of these varieties, as the Old 
Lincoln and Teeswater, were not suited for that extensive 
diffusion, which has given so great a public importance to 
the breed of Bakewell, and that the extension of the new 


breed has added prodigiously to the total quantity and value 
of the long wool produced in the country. With respect to 
the supposed deficiency of this breed in hardiness, and fecun- 
dity of the females, it is to be observed, that this, where it 
really exists, is the result of that refinement in breeding 
which would equally affect any race of Sheep subjected to 
the same treatment. The more we remove a race of animals 
from the natural state, by stimulating the system to an early 
maturity, the more we may expect them to lose that hardi- 
ness which is proper to them in a ruder condition. The New 
Leicester is a breed of artificial formation, and its establish- 
ment and maintenance infer a certain advancement in agri- 
culture, the due supply of cultivated food, and that care of 
the animals which their acquired habits and temperament 
demand. It is not denied that the New Leicester breed is 
more delicate and less prolific than some of the coarser races 
whose places it has taken ; but these defects exist only in 
a degree to be injurious, where refinement of breeding is 
carried to an excess which every breeder has now the power 
to avoid. 

The BREEDS OF SHEEP of the British Islands which have 
been generally referred to, or of which particular descrip- 
tions have been given, may be thus classified : 

1. 'The Zetland and Orkney Breeds, of the variety Irevi- 
cauda. They inhabit the most northerly islands, and are dis- 
tinguished by their bearing a fleece of fine soft wool, largely 
intermixed with hairs. The purest of them are found on the 
remoter Islands of Zetland. They are hardy, wild, and of 
small size ; and do not merit extension beyond the countries 
which they now occupy. 

2. The Older Soft-woolled Sheep of Scotland. They are 
of small weight, have long lank bodies, and bear a short soft 
wool, fitted for the manufacture of flannels, but deficient in 
the property of felting. These varieties are now nearly ex- 


tinct, or confined to the remoter islands and islets of the 

3. The Sheep of Wales, which may be divided into two 
classes ; 1. The Sheep of the Higher Mountains, horned, of 
diminutive size, usually of a dark colour, and bearing soft 
wool, largely intermixed with hairs ; 2. The Hornless Soft- 
woolled Sheep, likewise of small size, bearing wool of a soft 
texture, fitted for the manufacture of hose and flannels, but 
deficient in the property of felting. To the typical forms of 
these races all the Mountain Sheep of Wales are more or 
less allied. They are valued for the delicacy of their mut- 
ton, and are carried in numbers to the lower country, for the 
purpose of being fattened. They are hardy, but impatient of 
restraint, when removed from their native pastures. Allied 
in their characters to the Mountain Breeds of Wales are the 
Sheep of the Wicklow Mountains, now disappearing in the 
pure state, from the effects of crossing. 

4. The Kerry and other Sheep of the high lands of Ire- 
land, wild, slow in arriving at maturity, and producing a 
fleece of medium softness, but irregular, and mixed with 

5. The Black-faced Heath Breed, inhabiting the central 
chain of heathy mountains and moors which extend from 
Derbyshire northward. These sheep have long been carried 
to the mountains of Scotland, and now extend all northward 
through the northern Highlands to the Pentland Firth. They 
are armed with horns, and are the hardiest and boldest of 
all the races of British Sheep. They have dark-coloured 
faces and limbs, and bear shaggy fleeces of coarse wool. 
Their characters change when they are naturalized in the less 
rugged mountains and moors. In the lower heaths of York- 
shire, they approximate, through the coarse and unthrifty 
breed of Penistone, to the larger sheep of the plains : in other 
cases they pass into the finer-woolled sheep of the Commons, 
lower Heaths, and Forests. They produce a juicy and well- 


flavoured mutton, and are brought in great numbers from the 
mountains, to be fattened in the lower country. 

6. The Cheviot Breed, derived from a limited tract of 
green hills in the north of England, and thence widely spread 
over the mountainous districts of Scotland, and some parts 
of England and Ireland. These sheep somewhat exceed in 
weight the Black-faced Heath Breed : they are less robust, 
and less suited to a country of heaths, but yet they are 
amongst the hardiest of our Mountain Sheep. They are des- 
titute of horns in both sexes, and bear wool of medium fine- 
ness, fitted for preparation by the card, and employed in the 
manufacture of the coarser woollen cloths. 

7. The Old Norfolk Breed, reared in the heathy parts of 
the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge. They are 
a strong and agile race of Sheep, armed with horns in both 
sexes, bear a clothing of wool of medium length, and are 
greatly valued for the excellence of their mutton. They pro- 
duce admirable crosses with the more highly cultivated 
breeds, and especially with the South Down, from which 
cause they are rapidly diminishing in numbers in the pure 

8. The Breeds of the Older Forests, Commons, and Chases. 
These vary in their aspect, size, and properties, with the 
localities in which they have been naturalized. They have 
often dark or gray faces and limbs, have sometimes horns, 
and are sometimes destitute of horns, and bear, for the most 
part, a short felting wool. They have been continually 
diminishing in numbers with the appropriation of commons 
and the improvement of the country, so that few now remain 
without a mixture of the more cultivated breeds. In the 
West of England, however, are still to be found the Dart- 
moor and Exmoor breeds in considerable numbers, the for- 
mer occupying the high lands of Devonshire in the forest of 
Dartmoor ; the latter, a rugged district of limited extent at 
the sources of the river Exe in Somersetshire. They are 
both very wild and hardy races of small Sheep, and differ 



from the other Forest Breeds by producing wool of medium 
length, and more fitted for preparation by the comb than the 

9. The Ry eland Breed, the remains of some of the smaller 
fine-woolled varieties of the western counties. These Sheep 
are hornless, of small size, and of good forms, patient of 
scanty food, and productive of a fine short felting wool, which 
was long the most esteemed for the making of cloth of any 
in England. This breed, from the substitution of the larger 
varieties, and the effects of crossing, has been long diminish- 
ing in numbers, and is now nearly extinct. 

10. The South Down Breed, derived from the chalky hills 
of Sussex on the British Channel. It is to be classed 
amongst the Down and Forest Breeds, but it has been made 
to surpass them all by the effects of breeding and careful 
culture. It has been widely spread over all the south-east- 
ern counties of England, and has passed into districts be- 
yond the countries of the Chalk, taking the place of the pre- 
existing breeds of the downs and commons. The Sheep of 
this breed are destitute of horns, have dark-coloured faces 
and limbs, and produce a short felting wool fitted for pre- 
paration by the card. Their size varies with the locality, 
and the taste and opinions of the breeders ; but they are of 
greater weight, and bear heavier fleeces, than the older 
Sheep of the Sussex Downs. They are adapted to a lower 
range of pastures than the Black-faced Sheep and Cheviot 
Breeds, and are better fitted for a dry and temperate climate 
than for a cold and moist one. 

11. The Old Wiltshire. This and the other varieties of 
the larger fine-woolled Sheep of the central counties of Chalk, 
may be said to be now extinct beyond a few scattered rem- 
nants. They produced good felting wool, and fattened to a 
considerable weight ; but they were of coarse forms, and 
have universally yielded to the progress of the more highly 
cultivated Southdowns. 

12. The Dorset and Pink-nosed Somerset Breeds, natural- 


ized in the calcareous district of the south-western counties. 
They have horns in both sexes, bear a clothing wool of me- 
dium quality, and are noted, beyond any other breed, for the 
faculty of the females to receive the males at an early sea- 
son. This latter property has caused them to be extensively 
cultivated for the rearing of house-lambs. They have now 
been much diminished in numbers by the effects of crossing, 
and the substitution of other breeds regarded as more pro- 
fitable. Allied to these varieties is the Isle of Portland 
Breed, of small size, and of little economical importance be- 
yond the narrow district which it inhabits. 

13. The Merino Breed, derived from the mountains of 
Spain, but partially naturalized in England. It bears the 

, finest wool of any known race of Sheep. On account of this 
property it has been extensively diffused over a great part of 
Europe, and carried to America, the Cape of Good Hope, 
and the Colonies of England in Australia. The individuals, 
however, are of defective forms, of tender constitutions, defi- 
cient in the power of yielding milk, and slow in arriving at 
maturity. For these reasons, the Merino Breed, notwith- 
standing the abundance and excellence of its wool, has been 
received with little favour in England, and is deemed inferior 
in value to the more improved varieties of the country. 

14. The Long-woolled Sheep, comprehending, First, the 
pure New Leicester Breed ; and, Secondly, the varieties more 
or less intermixed with it in blood, of which the principal are : 
1st, the larger class of Lincolnshire Sheep ; 2d, the Romney 
Marsh Breed ; 3d, the Cotswold Breed ; 4th, the Devonshire 
Notts ; bth, the Long-woolled Irish varieties. All these Sheep 
are of large size, are destitute of horns in both sexes, and bear 
long wool, unsuited for preparation by the card, but eminently 
fitted for preparation by the comb, and the manufacture of 
stuffs termed Worsted. They are the kinds of Sheep more 
especially adapted to the plains, and the districts where arti- 
ficial food can be reared in the necessary quantity. They 
have been continually increasing in numbers with the exten- 


sion of tillage and the general improvement of agriculture. 
Of the several varieties, the New Leicester Breed occupies 
the first class with respect to form and the aptitude to fatten 
readily. The larger Lincolnshire, the Romney Marsh, the 
Cotswold, and the improved Devonshire Breeds, have each 
properties which render their cultivation profitable under 
particular circumstances. The Irish varieties have not yet 
generally attained to the perfection at which the others have 



The important family of which the common Ox may be 
regarded as typical, divides itself into three groups, the 
BISONTINE, the BUB ALINE, and the TAURINE. The Bisons 
inhabit both the Old and New Continents, and are distin- 
guished by round smooth horns, and a musky odour which 
exhales from the skin. The Buffaloes are characterized by 
angular horns, and a fainter odour of musk, and are natives 
of the warmer regions of Asia and Africa. The Taurine 
group, comprehending the common Ox and its different races, 
forms the most important division of Bovidee. 

208 THE OX. 

The EUROPEAN BISON, Bison Europceus, which once 
abounded in the great forests of Europe, is a fierce and 
powerful creature. He is the fiusuv of the Greeks, the Bison 
of the Latins, the Wisent of the Older Germans, the Zubr 
of the Poles, and the Zub of the Arabians. He for- 
merly abounded in the Hercynian and Sarmatian forests, 
and was regarded as the largest of the quadrupeds indige- 
nous to Europe. But, like many animal species, the great 
Bison of Europe seems doomed to perish under a condition 
of countries that is no longer suited to him. He merely 
lingers in a portion of the vast regions of forest which he 
once inhabited. He is found in herds in the marshy forest 
of Bialowieza in Poland, where he is protected by the Go- 
vernment of Russia. He does not wander beyond the woods 
where he yet lingers, because it is probable the sustenance 
which suits him is not to be found in another habitat ; and 
even in this retreat, he would probably cease to exist, were 
it not for the care used in supplying him with food during 
the snows of winter. 

Bisons are still found in considerable herds in the woods 
of the Caucasus. According to the recent travels of Nord- 
man, they exist in the greatest numbers from the Kuban to 
the Psib. In some places they inhabit the mountains in 
summer ; in others, they are met with in swampy places all 
the year round. They are killed by the natives, and their 
horns, formed into drinking cups, are used by the wild chief- 
tains of the country. A large kind of Bison is likewise found 
in British India ; but whether it is identical with the Bisons 
of Western Asia and Europe, or a distinct species, has not 
been determined. It is termed Gaur by the natives, and by 
some naturalists Bos gaurus. It has been hitherto found in 
the thick jungles in the western confines of the provinces of 
Bengal and Bahar. It is often killed by British sportsmen, 
but of the young none has yet been captured. The villagers 
have a superstitious terror of these creatures, and cannot be 
persuaded to go in search of the calves ; believing that, if 


the Gaurs are in any way molested, they will attack the per- 
sons disturbing them, and never quit them till they have put 
them to death. 

The European Bison is a large animal, equalling in stature 
the tallest of the domestic oxen of the countries he inhabits. 
His head is broad, and the forehead bulging ; the horns are 
round, thick, black, and of a hard consistence, arid larger in 
the male than in the female : the eye is small, and its usual 
character is placid ; but when the animal is roused to anger, 
the pupil narrows to a slit, the coat becomes inflamed, and 
all the expression indicates blind fury and madness. The 
tongue is covered with tubercles, and, together with the lips, 
gums, and palate, is blue. The trunk and hinder parts of 
the body are relatively slender, the shoulders thick, and in 
the adult male the spines are so lengthened as to form withers. 
The skin is exceedingly thick, and emits the odour of musk. 
The trunk, down to the knees, is covered with woolly hair, 
the top of the head, neck, and shoulder, with long hair mixed 
with frizzled wool, forming a mane, and from the chine to the 
chest is a kind of beard. The tail comes below the hocks, and 
at its extremity is furnished with a brush of long bristly 
hairs. The female has smaller horns than the male, and 
less elevated withers. Though a large animal, she has an 
udder smaller than that of the least of the domestic Cows. 

These creatures are ferocious, strong, and fearless of ene- 
mies. They hold their heads low, are swift of foot, but are 
soon worn out, seldom running farther than one or two Eng- 
lish miles. They swim with facility, and delight to cool them- 
selves in water. Their favourite places of resort are thickets 
near the swampy banks of rivers. In the warmer season 
they frequent shadowy spots ; in winter they keep quiet during 
the day, in the thickets of firs and pines, browsing only at 
night, and finding sustenance on the bark of young trees. 
The thrusts of an old bull will overturn trees of five or six 
inches diameter. An old bull, we are informed, is a match 


210 THE OX. 

for four wolves, though packs of the latter animal will hunt 
down a full-grown bull when alone.* 

Like all the Bovine race in a state of nature, they avoid 
the dangerous approach of man. When suddenly come upon, 
they rush upon the intruder with fury. When taken young, 
they become used to their keepers, but resent the intrusion 
of strangers, and seem incapable of resigning their natural 
wildness, and submitting to domestication. They abhor the 
domestic races, shunning them, or goring them to death. 
Four young ones, captured in the forest of Bialowieza, af- 
forded to M. Gilbert, who had long resided in Poland, op- 
portunities of observing their habits. They refused to take 
the milk of the cow, but at length submitted to be suckled by 
a she-goat, raised on a table to the level of their muzzles. 
When satisfied, they sometimes tossed the nurse and the 
table to the distance of several feet. The two males died 
within a month. The females survived : they became docile 
and obedient to their keeper, licking his hands, rubbing his 
body gently with their heads and muzzles, and coming to 
him when they heard his voice. They hated the sight of 
scarlet, and drove all the common cows from their pastures. 
They came into season at the age of two years, and rejected 
the approaches of the domestic bull. 

The forest in which these creatures are preserved, con- 
tains about 352 geographical square miles, of which about 
one-sixth part consists of rushy swamps, and is intersected 
by numerous rivulets, and by one considerable river. The 
number of Bisons consists, at present, of about 700 : they 
are protected by the Government, and are only suffered to be 
killed in small numbers, by especial permission. When the 
wolves are to be hunted, it is done with caution, and by a 
small number of dogs ; and any noisy occupations which 
might disturb the animals, are prohibited within the forest.f 

* Weissenborn, Magazine of Natural History. f \Veissenborn. 


From the habits of this creature, his indoeility, and the in- 
stinctive aversion to the domestic races, it will appear that he 
is not one of those animals which Providence has ordained to 
yield up their services to man, and become an instrument of 
good to our race. He is rather to be numbered amongst 
those which are destined to disappear before the progress of 
civilization and the arts. By a rare chance, human interfer- 
ence has saved the wreck of the species in Europe from that 
destruction which awaited it ; but this can only be for a 
season, and the time will doubtless come, when the great 
Bison of the European woods will be numbered with those 
extinct species, whose bones alone remain to testify their 
former existence. 

The next to be mentioned of the Bisontine group is proper 
to another hemisphere, and was only made known to us when 
the rich savannahs and boundless forests of the Western Con- 
tinent revealed their living inhabitants to the wondering eyes 
of European travellers. The AMERICAN BISON, Bison Ame- 
ricanus, commonly, but erroneously, termed a Buffalo, re- 
sembles the Bison of Europe in his general form, and in some 
of his habits. His head is large ; his forehead is broad 
and convex; his horns are short, thick, and black; his 
eyes are small, clear, and piercing, with a placid expres- 
sion, except when he is irritated, and then the expression 
turns to that of ferocity and rage. He is very bulky in 
front, and has large withers, to which powerful muscles 
are attached to support his ponderous head. The back 
droops from the withers, and the posterior part of the body 
is meagre and thin. On the summit of his head there is 
an abundance of long woolly hair, which hangs over the 
face, the ears, and the horns. The throat, the neck, the 
shoulders, and the breast, are covered with long hair ; the 
back, and the rest of the trunk, are covered with short hairy 
wool. The colour of his fur is, in summer, a light brown, in 
winter a brownish-black. The tail is about eighteen inches 

212 THE OX. 

long, terminated by a tuft of hair. The female is smaller 
than the male, and has shorter horns, and less of hair on the 
anterior parts. The male, when fully grown, has been some- 
times found to weigh 2000 lb., though the average weight is 
said to be 12 or 14 cwt. 

This is a very strong and agile creature, making its way 
with great swiftness through tangled brushwood and heaps 
of snow. He is more irritable than dangerous, and flies from 
the sight of the hunter. When attacked by large dogs, he 
defends himself with courage. If his enemies catch him by 
his shaggy coat, he tosses them overhead in an instant. 
Should they succeed in pinning him by the nose, after the 
manner of attack by the bull-dog, he spreads his fore-legs, 
and brings his hind-feet forward till he treads the dog be- 
neath him. He then tears his head loose, regardless of the 
wound, and crushes his enemy beneath his feet. These animals 
are eminently gregarious and migratory. They feed on the 
herbage of plains, and the sedgy plants of morasses and 
swamps. They are fond of salt, and travel great distances to 
the saline springs which yield this condiment : they swim 
with ease, crossing the most rapid rivers : they delight in 
coolness and moisture, bathing in pools and lakes during the 
heat of summer : in the winter season they dig the snow 
with their feet, that they may reach the plants beneath. They 
inhabit the temperate parts of North America, congregating 
in herds, in the woods and vast plains and savannahs where 
they feed. In summer they migrate northward, and then it 
is that they are seen in those prodigious herds that strike 
the traveller with wonder. The countless multitude seems 
to darken the plain, and stretch to the horizon. Captains 
Lewis and Clark, on one occasion, mention that the moving 
mass which they beheld could not be less than 20,000 in 
number. At another time, they saw a herd crossing the 
Missouri, which, though the river was a mile in breadth, 
stretched across it from side to side as thick as the animals 
could swim. 


The paths they make to the pools of fresh water or saline 
springs which they frequent, are often as numerous and trod- 
den as the highways of a peopled country ; and all travellers 
in the western countries speak with amazement of the traces 
of their numbers. They retire to the boundless wilds of the 
interior before the progress of the settler, and from the per- 
secution of the chase. Formerly they were to be found to 
the eastward of the Apalachian Mountains ; but they are now 
driven to the remoter wilderness towards the Ohio, the Mis- 
souri, and west of the Mississippi on the south. They are the 
subjects of incessant attack and pursuit by the Indian tribes, 
who feed upon their flesh, and make cloaks, sandals, and other 
fabrics, of their hides. They are often slaughtered in vast 
numbers together. Sometimes they are driven in crowds into 
ravines, and to the edges of precipices, where they are killed 
by lances and other missiles. Sometimes, the grass being 
set fire to, the herd is encompassed and thrown into confu- 
sion, and all other means which their savage persecutors can 
devise are employed to entrap and destroy them. This fright- 
ful carnage cuts off by degrees the sources of the future sup- 
ply ; and the time may come when this marvel of the Ameri- 
can wilderness will be as rare to be seen as the Bison of the 
Lithuanian forests. 

Of the fitness of this creature for domestication no doubt 
can exist. He is the native Ox of America : and had the 
country been inhabited by civilized communities, in place of 
tribes of savage hunters, a creature so formed by Nature 
for the service of man could not have remained unsubdued. 
He is far more docile than the Bison of Europe, and mani- 
fests no antipathy to the domestic race. He breeds with 
the latter ; but how far the mixed progeny would be fruitful 
with one another, has not. it is believed, been determined. 
He is tamed with great facility, and manifests no ferocity. 
Numbers are sometimes separated from the herd by the 
back- woodsmen of the United States, driven long journeys, 
and brought in, perfectly subdued, to the American towns, to 

214 THE OX. 

be disposed of to the inhabitants. It is said that they are 
sometimes kept on the farms of Kentucky, \vhere the objec- 
tions to them are, that the cow yields a small quantity of 
milk, and of a musky flavour ; and that she is restless, leap- 
ing the barriers intended to confine her, and enticing "the 
other cattle to follow her to the woods. The flesh of the 
animal is reckoned good, and in an especial degree the tongue, 
and fleshy hump upon the shoulder. The hair has so much 
of the woolly character, that it may be woven into cloth, or 
formed into hats by the felting process : the skin is very 
thick, and when tanned, or else with the w r ool upon it, forms 
a warm covering, used by the Indians for cloaks and blankets. 
But the chief value of the domesticated Bison, it may be be- 
lieved, would be for the purposes of labour, for which his 
agility and the great strength of his shoulders seem pecu- 
liarly to adapt him. A farmer on the great Kenhawa, we 
are informed by Mr Bingley, broke a young Bison to the 
yoke : the animal performed his work to admiration, and the 
only fault his master had to find with him was, that his pace 
was too quick for the steer with which he was yoked. 

Beyond the range of the American Bison, and stretching 
into regions of everlasting ice, is the habitat of another spe- 
cies of Bison, suited to other conditions of temperature and 
food. The MUSK Ox, Ovibos moschatus, first appears about 
the 60th degree of northern latitude, and thence is found to 
the very extremity of the American continent, wandering in 
search of food to the dreary islands beyond it during the brief 
space of the arctic vegetation. This creature is about the 
size of the little Ox of the most northerly Highlands of Scot- 
land. He has no muzzle, or naked space around the nose 
and lips, like the Common Ox and Bison, but, like the Sheep, 
he is covered to the lips with hair ; and hence the genus has 
been termed Ovibos, as partaking of the character of the Ox 
and the Sheep. His horns, broad at the base, covering the 
upper part of the forehead, and bending downward, and then 
upward, enable him to defend himself against the Bear and 


the Wolf. To protect him from the cold, he is enveloped 
from head to foot in a dense fur, consisting partly of hair and 
partly of wool. The long hair almost trails to the ground, 
and underneath is a thick coat of delicate wool, of which fabrics 
like the finest silk may be formed. He has short muscular 
limbs and hoofs, like those of the Rein-deer, and he is endowed 
with great activity, scaling the icy rocks of the country when 
pursued. He feeds partly on grasses and partly on lichens, 
and he is usually seen browsing in small herds or bands. 
His skin emits the strong odour of musk. Though suited, 
perhaps, to perform the same services as the Rein-deer, he 
has never been subjected to servitude. He is hunted by the 
rude Indians for his skin and flesh, which last is hard, lean, 
and tainted with the flavour of musk. The Esquimaux, Avhose 
country he inhabits along with the Rein-Deer, cover their 
heads and faces with his long hair, to defend them from the 
bites of musquitoes. They eat his flesh, and devour the con- 
tents of his paunch, which is filled with the lichens and other 
plants on which he feeds.* 

A like form of the Bison seems to have extended westward 
into Asia, by Behring's Staits, along the shores of the Icy 
Ocean. But the osseous remains of this animal alone exist, 
and naturalists have not determined whether he was identi- 
cal with the species of America, or distinct from it. His 
habitat shews that he was, like it, formed to brave the rigour 
of the coldest climates of the globe. 

Proceeding southward into Central Asia, another species 
of the Bisontine family appears, with habits which adapt him 
to the services of man. This creature is the Yak of the Tar- 
tar nations, the Bos gruniens of modern naturalists, so named 
on account of the sound of his voice, which, like that of other 
Bisons, resembles the grunting of the Hog. This animal is 
found, both in the wild and the domesticated state, extending 
from the mountains of Thibet, through the vast countries of 

* Richardson, Faun. Bor. Araer. 

216 THE OX. 

the Kalmuk and Mongolian nations, to the Pacific Ocean. 
In the wild state his chief habitat is near the chain of snowy 
mountains separating India from Tartary. 

This species of Bison is about the size of the lesser breeds 
of Oxen in Britain ; but he is of a stout form, with short mus- 
cular limbs. He has fourteen pairs of ribs like the European 
Bison, and the anterior spines of his back are so lengthened 
as to form withers. He is armed with short and smooth 
horns, which frequently are wanting : they are black, or white, 
or white tipped with black, and bend upwards at the points. 
His muzzle is narrow, and covered with hairs, approaching 
in this respect to the character of the Ovibos. He is thickly 
clothed with hair and wool, to protect him from the cold of 
the elevated country which he inhabits. On the forehead, the 
hair is short and curling ; on the back, long, pendent, and 
mixed with wool ; and along the spine runs a kind of mane, 
The tail reaches to the heels, and is covered with long, fine 
hairs, giving to the animal the aspect of an ox with a horse's 
tail : hence he has been sometimes termed the Horse-tailed 
Buffalo. The colour of the hair varies in the domesticated 
race ; it is usually black, or brownish-black, but other parts 
of the body are white, as the legs, the back, and the fine and 
graceful tail. The height of the animals at the withers is 
said to be about three feet ten inches, but there must be 
great variations in size ; for, in the British Museum, there is 
preserved the tail of a Yak, which measures six feet in 

The Yaks, in their state of nature, seem to prefer the woods 
of mountains to the valleys and open plains, and, like other 
Bisons, to seek the neighbourhood of rivers, lakes, and pools ; 
arid this fondness for an aquatic situation they retain in the 
domestic state, wallowing in pools when occasion offers, and 
swimming when they come to rivers. They have a some- 
what gloomy aspect, and are said to be suspicious of strangers, 

* Griffith's Animal Kingdom. 


and are even dangerous to be approached. Thus travellers 
on advancing to the Tartar camps, have seen the herd ap- 
proach as if to make an attack, whisking their long tails, and 
tossing their heads in a menacing manner. 

This species is the only kind of cattle cultivated by many 
of the Kalmuk tribes, and even by some of the Western 
Tartars. Tt seems to be well adapted to the condition of 
those elevated plains, where continual changes of place are 
required to afford fresh pasturage for the flocks and herds 
of the communities. The Yaks are well suited for these fre- 
quent journeyings, being hardy, sure-footed, and capable of 
bearing burdens. The natives make tents and ropes of their 
hair, and coverings of their skins. The milk of the female 
is plentiful and good, yielding excellent butter. Thus the 
Yak is a valuable animal in those countries of migratory 
herdsmen, yielding at the same time food and the means of 
transport. A profitable trade, too, is pursued by the Tartars 
in the white tails which many of the oxen produce. These 
tails are dyed of various beautiful colours, and are in request 
over all the East. They form the standards of the Persians 
and Turks : they are used in India and Persia as chouries 
or fly-fans, for which purpose they are supplied with ivory 
handles finely carved : they are used as ornaments for the 
harnessing of elephants and horses : the Chinese dye the 
hair of a beautiful red, and form it into tufts for their bon- 

The next in order of the Bovidse is the BUBALINE group, 
distinguished hy a narrow convex forehead, higher than wide, 
and by angular, not rounded, horns. The general aspect of 
these animals is clumsy, their limbs are strong, their muzzle 
is broad, their ears are large and pendent ; their hide is thick, 
usually coal-black, partially covered with hairs, and in the 
warmer countries nearly destitute of hairs. They are fond 
of water, and, like Hogs, wallow in moist and miry places. 
The female has four mammae, but two sometimes are not de- 

218 THE OX. 

Of Buffaloes in the state of nature, there seem to be more 
than one species which have not been sufficiently described. 
One of these, inhabiting the forests of India, is of great size 
and strength, with horns of enormous length. No live speci- 
men of this animal has yet been brought to Europe, but the 
head and horns have been obtained, and are to be found in 
various museums in England. The horns are of a crescent 
form, and have been obtained six feet in length, measuring a 
foot and a half in circumference at the base, and covering 
from point to point a space of ten feet. The skin of this ani- 
mal is covered with hair, in which respect it differs from 
others of the genus, and the tail extends no lower than the 
hock. It is surprising that various naturalists should main- 
tain that this species is identical with the Common Buffalo. 
The widest differences of external form must be disregarded 
in discriminating species, if such an opinion can be sustained. 
This gigantic creature has been seen and killed by British 
sportsmen, and is certainly distinct from the Common Buf- 
falo. He is the Bos Ami of Shaw ; the Gigantic Arnee of 
travellers and writers. Another variety of Arnee is more 
abundant, and congregates in herds. His horns are very 
long, and have likewise a crescent form. Droves of them 
are to be seen floating in the Ganges, suffering themselves 
to be carried by the current to the creeks and islands where 
they feed. But whether this creature differs from the other 
in any other respect than age, has not been determined. 

The COMMON BUFFALO, Bos bubalus, Linn., inhabits the 
marshy forests of India. These creatures are found, both in 
the wild and the tame state, throughout Hindostan and other 
countries of the East. They run with their heads held in 
a horizontal position, so that their horns rest upon -their 
shoulders. Though more or less independent in their habits, 
they yet assemble in herds for mutual protection, or when in 
search of food. They avoid the short herbage of hills, pre- 
ferring the coarser plants of moist woods and marshy plains. 
They delight in water : they float upon the current, and cross 


without hesitation arms of the sea and the broadest rivers. 
They are seen to dive as they swim, and drag up by their horns 
the aquatic plants on which they feed. In the domesticated 
state, they retain the love of moist situations ; they haunt the 
banks of rivers ; they love to wallow in pools and swamps ; 
and will lie for hours in mud, or sunk, their heads alone 
visible, beneath the water of pools. Whole herds are to be 
seen crossing the Euphrates or the Nile, their keepers direct- 
ing them, and stepping from back to back as on a floating 
raft. Their sense of smell is acute, and they are persever- 
ing in pursuit of assailants. They are fierce when irritated, 
and will not turn from their enemies. Even the Tiger dreads 
their formidable, strength. When brought to fight with other 
animals in the arena, to afford a cruel pastime to Indian 
princes, the courage of the Tiger quails the instant the Buf- 
falo enters the arena : he would willingly shun the combat ; 
while the Buffalo, excited to fury at the sight of his natural 
enemy, bends his head level with the ground, that his horns 
may be in a position to strike, and rushes, notwithstanding 
the wounds he receives, on his terrible opponent. These 
powerful animals seem to be insensible of fear. When they 
fight, they strive to lift their enemy on their horns, and when 
he is thrown down, to crush him to death with their knees. 
Their fury then seems to be insatiable : they trample on the 
mangled body of their victim, and return again and again as 
if to glut their vengeance. They have a memory tenacious 
of wrongs, and will resent them when occasion offers. In- 
stances are known, when, after having been brutally forced 
by their keeper to tasks beyond their strength, they have 
seized the first opportunity to rush upon their tyrant and put 
him to death. Like all the Bovine family, they are roused 
to fury by the sight of scarlet and bright colours. 

The Buffalo is a creature of vast strength, which, in the 
state of servitude, he exercises in the pulling of loads and 
the bearing of burdens. - In this respect he far surpasses any 
other of the Bovine family. When yoked in rude waggons 

220 THE OX. 

and cars, he drags them through miry tracks, swamps, and 
shallow rivers, with a force which no other animal but the 
Elephant could exert, and performs tasks of continued labour, 
under which the strongest horses and bullocks would sink 
down and die. His pace, however, is measured and slow, 
and unless he is cooled and largely supplied with water, he 
becomes feeble, and subject to mortal diseases. He may be 
termed the Camel of a country of marshes, but he would 
perish under the toils and thirst of an arid country. Though 
retaining, in the state of servitude, the sullen aspect and sus- 
picious character which are natural to him, he yet can be re- 
duced to complete subjection. He is managed by a ring, or 
simply by a rope, passed through the cartilage of his nose. 
Much of his acquired docility depends upon education and 
treatment. In Eastern countries, where he is used with 
gentleness, and carefully instructed, he manifests an intelli- 
gence in which no other oxen surpass him, and becomes so 
gentle, that he may be 'guided by a child in all the labours of 
the field. 

The flesh of the Buffalo is hard and coarse, and could not 
be endured in countries where a value is set upon delicate 
animal food. His skin is esteemed for its thickness and dura- 
bility, surpassing greatly in this respect the hide of the Ox. 
It is so tough that it is used for defensive armour by the 
Javanese and other people of the Indian islands. The milk 
of the female is nutritive and well-tasted ; but she yields it in 
smaller quantity than the common cows of Europe, and be- 
comes sooner dry when separated from her young, for whom 
she manifests the strongest affection. 

The Buffalo is extensively domesticated in India, Siam, 
China, and all the warmer countries of the East. He extends 
westward through Persia and Arabia to the shores of the 
Red Sea and the Hellespont. He spreads from Egypt along 
the southern coasts of the Mediterranean. He is found in 
Greece and the islands of the Archipelago, in Spain, Italy, 
Hungary, and in part of the Russian dominions in Europe. 


In the warmer regions of the East, the Buffalo has been 
domesticated beyond all memorial of tradition and history. 
But his introduction into Europe did not take place until 
an era comparatively recent. He was first known to the 
Greeks, and then only by description, on the conquest of 
Persia by Alexander the Great. Aristotle correctly describes 
him as being of a black colour, and as having a strong body, 
and thick horns lying backward : but the Bou/SaXos of Aristotle, 
as well as the Bubalus of the early Roman writers, was of 
the Antelope family, and distinct from the modern Buffalo. 
From the period when the Buffalo of the East was first re- 
ferred to by the great naturalist of Greece, nearly a thousand 
years elapsed before he was introduced as the beast of labour 
into Europe. It has been supposed that the Huns and other 
barbarians of the East brought him with them when they 
migrated for settlement and conquest towards the Roman 
States ; in which case he may be supposed to have been first 
introduced into Thrace and other countries of the Danube. 
Warnefried states that Buffaloes appeared in Italy in the 
year 596 ; and some of the earlier Monkish chroniclers refer 
to them with a sort of horror, as a strange kind of Oxen 
brought from Pagan lands. The Buffalo has been long in 
use in Egypt, though it does not appear that it was cultivated 
by the early Egyptians. Some suppose that he was not in- 
troduced into Egypt until after the conquests of the Saracens. 
The Arabian Mahommedans refuse to eat of the flesh of the 
Buffalo, on account, it may be believed, of his resemblance 
to the Hog. They have a strange tradition that the Hog 
and the Buffalo were the only animals which the Prophet 
was unable to convert to the true faith ! 

Of the European countries, Italy is that in which the Buf- 
falo is the most largely used as the beast of labour and the 
assistant of the husbandman. He there forms the riches of 
the poor inhabitants, who feed upon his milk and flesh, and 
use him in all the labours of carriage and the field. He finds 

222 THE OX. 

a fitting habitation in the pestilential swamps with which this 
beautiful country is defaced. Vast herds of them are seen 
grazing in the wild and swampy plains of Calabria, in the 
Pontine Marshes near Rome, and in other places along the 
shores which the deadly malaria renders nearly unfit for hu- 
man abode. In such cases the Buffaloes live almost in the 
state of nature, under the guidance of armed herdsmen, who 
acquire by habit a wonderful command over them. Often 
they are brought to Rome to be baited in the public shows 
by trained combatants, who exhibit surprising feats of courage 
and address. 

The Buffalo owes his general diffusion in the domesticated 
state to his hardiness, to his power of subsisting on coarse food, 
and to his great strength and fitness for labour. It becomes 
a question, whether it would be expedient to carry him be- 
yond the countries in which he is now naturalized, to others 
more distant, as France, Holland, and England. The ques- 
tion, it is believed, must be answered in the negative. The 
Buffalo is really the creature of the warmer countries, and 
his superiority over the Domestic Ox continually diminishes 
as we arrive at countries where the common grasses become 
abundant. He is in all cases, indeed, to be preferred for 
physical strength and endurance of labour to the Ox, but his 
pace is slow, and his action sluggish. In this country he 
cannot in any degree be compared to the Horse for the active 
labours of the road and farm, while the flesh would be in no 
demand, and the milk yielded by the cow would be too incon- 
siderable to be of value for the dairy. 

The Bubaline family likewise appears in Africa, and with 
such modifications of form as the peculiar physical condition 
of this vast continent produces in so many animal species. 
Although it may be the Asiatic Buffalo which has been do- 
mesticated in Egypt, and perhaps along the southern shores 
of the Mediterranean, yet it follows in no degree, that species 
or varieties proper to that continent have not been subdued. 


Bruce informs us that Buffaloes exist in great numbers in 
the woods of Abyssinia. Denham and Clapperton found them 
in the kingdom of Bornon, on the lake of Tchad, in the heart 
of Africa, and thence innumerable traces of them appear 
through all the intermediate countries to the Atlantic. Cap- 
tain Lyon mentions three kinds of Buffaloes which are found 
in great numbers in the kingdom of Fezzan; the first, an 
animal about the size of an Ass, with large head and horns, 
a reddish hide, and large bunches of hair hanging from each 
shoulder to the length of eighteen inches or two feet, and of 
a fierce disposition ; the second about the size of a Cow, red 
in colour, slow in its motions, and having large horns ; and 
the third a white Buffalo, lighter in shape, and more active 
in its motions than the others, and so shy and swift that 
it can rarely be obtained. Unfortunately the gallant traveller 
gives us no details, and probably merely speaks from common 
reports. The information afforded by other travellers re- 
garding the Buffaloes of the interior is alike defective. We 
merely learn that these animals abound throughout the 
forests of Northern and Central Africa ; but of their distinc- 
tive characters, no information satisfactory to the naturalist 
has yet been afforded. 

There is one African species, however, of which we have 
authentic accounts, namely, the CAPE BUFFALO, the Bos 
Coffer of Sparrman, and admitted by that name into the cata- 
logues of naturalists. This formidable animal is found at the 
Cape, and extends to an unknown distance into the interior. 
He bears a distinct affinity in habits and character with the 
Buffalo of Asia, but is yet clearly marked by characters of 
his own. He is a large animal, being about five feet and a 
half in height at the shoulders, and nine feet long, having 
short muscular limbs, and a ponderous head. His horns are 
long, thick, and black, spreading over the whole forehead 
until the bases nearly touch. The root of these rugged horns, 
overhanging the red and piercing eyes of the animal, gives 
him a sullen and malignant aspect. His ears are shaggy 

224 THE OX. 

and pendent, and about a foot in length, and are frequently 
found to be jagged and rent by the sharp spines of the dense 
and tangled brushwood through which he forces a passage. 
The Hottentots believe that the animals belong to demons, and 
that the rents in the ears are the marks by which these super- 
natural beings distinguish their own cattle. The hide is thick, 
black, tough, and covered with wiry hairs. On the throat, 
and along the dewlap, is a beard of stiff hairs, and on the 
neck and spine a scanty mane : the tail is bare, with a tuft 
at its extremity. 

These animals dwell in small herds in woods and thickets, 
though sometimes they unite in larger bodies, as of 150 or 
more together. They delight in moisture, passing hours in 
pools of water, and rolling themselves in mud. They are 
described by travellers as savage, treacherous, and vindic- 
tive. The bull, it is said, will lurk behind the covert of 
thickets, and rush on the unwary traveller, whose only hope 
of safety is to reach a tree, should one happily be near. He 
cannot save himself by flight, for the furious brute quickly 
overtakes him, throws him to the earth, tramples upon him 
with his feet, and crushes him to death with his knees. Nay, 
it is said that, after having mangled his victim, the creature 
retires to a distance, and then returns again and again with 
increased ferocity, as if to gratify, by repetition, his thirst of 
vengeance. The account of the animal's lurking behind 
thickets is doubtless incorrect, for it is not the nature of her- 
bivorous animals to prey on other creatures from a desire of 
blood. And with respect to his treachery and cruelty, it is 
to be asked which, in the eye of humanity and reason, is 
the most treacherous and cruel, the traveller and stranger 
who steals upon the lonely animal in his native haunt to shed 
his blood, or the victim who uses the powers which Nature 
has given him to protect himself from slaughter I 

Sparrman describes an encounter with several of these 
animals on the Great Fish River. The party advanced within 
twenty yards of one of them, when, actuated in some degree 


by their fears, they discharged their pieces nearly at the 
same time. The Buffalo, who had just turned his head round 
as if about to assault the intruders, fell on the discharge of 
the pieces, but, rising again, ran to the thickest part of the 
wood. Supposing that the shot was mortal, the travellers, 
in their hurry and ignorance of the danger, followed the ani- 
mal into the thicket ; but they found, in the sequel, that the 
balls had only struck him on the spine and stunned him, and 
been shivered to pieces on the bones. The travellers, now 
joined by their Hottentots, endeavoured to find out his re- 
treat in the vale below ; but the animal, having recovered 
his surprise, came forth of his own accord to the skirts of the 
wood, and faced his assailants, who, happily for them, had 
the advantage of the higher ground. Three shots were in- 
stantly fired, and one, entering the belly, proved mortal. 
The Buffalo again retreated to the shelter of the vale, dyeing 
the ground and bushes all the way as he went with his blood. 
The hunters followed with the utmost caution through the 
thin and pervious part of the thicket. Again their victim 
advanced to make an attack, but one of the party, from the 
place where he was posted, had the fortune to lodge a shot 
in the lungs ; yet still the wounded animal had the strength 
to make a circuit of 150 paces before he fell. " During his 
fall, and before he died," continues the narration, " he bel- 
lowed in a most stupendous manner, and this death-song of 
his inspired every one of us with joy, on account of the vic- 
tory we had gained : and so thoroughly steeled is frequently 
the human heart against the sufferings of the brute creation, 
that we hastened forward to enjoy the pleasure of seeing the 
Buffalo struggle with the pangs of death. I happened to be 
foremost among them, and I think it impossible for anguish, 
accompanied by a savage fierceness, to be painted in stronger 
colours than they were upon the face of this Buffalo. I was 
within ten steps of him when he perceived me, and, bellow- 
ing, raised himself suddenly again upon his legs." The tra- 
veller was so terrified, that, hastily firing his piece, his shot 


226 THE OX. 

missed the huge animal before him, and he precipitately fled. 
But it was all over with the poor Buffalo ; he had made his 
last effort ; he had left to his conquerors the happiness of 
having shed his blood, by means of deadly weapons, which 
all the vast strength and noble courage with which Nature 
had endowed him could not enable him to withstand ; he had 
left them the privilege of prating of their courage, philosophy, 
and love of nature, and of his malignity, cruelty, and vindic- 

The same and other travellers give numerous accounts of 
their encounters with these strong and fearless creatures. 
M. Thunberg informs us, that, when travelling in Caffraria, 
he and his companions had just entered a wood, when they 
discovered a large old Buffalo, lying quite alone in a little 
space free from bushes. The animal no sooner observed the 
guide, who went first, than he rushed upon him with a dread- 
ful roar. The man was able to turn his horse quickly round 
a large tree, when the furious beast rushed upon the next of 
the party, and gored his horse so dreadfully in the belly, that 
it died soon after. The two men fled to trees, and when the 
furious creature rushed on towards the next of the party, a 
horse without a rider chanced to be in front : the Buffalo at- 
tacked him with such fury, that he drove his horns through 
the horse's breast, and out again through the very, saddle. 
The horse was thrown to the ground with dreadful violence, 
and instantly died. Thunberg, coming up at the moment, 
found himself in the way of the enraged animal, but, from 
the narrowness of the path, he had no room to turn. He 
abandoned his horse, and took refuge in a tree. But the Buf- 
falo had now done : on killing the second horse, he turned 
suddenly about, and retreated to the covert. 

Some Europeans at the Cape, in chase of one of these 
animals, pursued him into a narrow path. He turned round, 
and rushed upon a man of the party, who plunged into the 
stream, and swam off. In an instant the Buffalo followed, 
and was close upon him, when the man, to save himself, 


dived. He dipped down overhead, and the Buffalo for he mo- 
ment lost sight of him, and swam toward the opposite shore, 
three miles distant, and would have reached it, but for a shot 
from the gun of a ship, which chanced to be lying at a little 

The following incident is recorded in a periodical work, on 
the authority of a Dutch- African farmer, who had been a 
witness of the scene fifteen years before. " A party of boors 
had gone out to hunt a troop of Buffaloes, which were graz- 
ing in a piece of marshy ground, interspersed with groves of 
yellow wood and mimosa trees, on the very spot where the 
village of Somerset is now built. As they could not con- 
veniently get within shot of the game without crossing part 
of the valei or marsh, which did not afford a safe passage for 
horses, they agreed to leave their steeds in charge of their 
Hottentot servants, and to advance on foot, thinking that, if 
any of the Buffaloes should turn upon them, it would be easy 
to escape by retreating across the quagmire, which, though 
passable for man, would not support the weight of a heavy 
quadruped. They advanced accordingly, and, under cover of 
the bushes, approached the game with such advantage, that 
the first volley brought down three of the fattest of thelierd, 
and so severely wounded the great bull leader, that he dropped 
on his knees, bellowing with pain. Thinking him mortally 
wounded, the foremost of the huntsmen issued from the covert, 
and began reloading his musket as he advanced, to give him 
a finishing shot. But no sooner did the infuriated animal 
see his foe in front of him, than he sprang up, and rushed 
headlong upon him. The man, throwing down his empty 
gun, fled towards the quagmire ; but the savage beast was 
so close upon him that he despaired of escaping in that direc- 
tion, and turning suddenly round a clump of copse wood, be- 
gan to climb an old mimosa tree which stood at one side 
of it. The raging beast, however, was too quick for him. 
Bounding forward with a roar, which my informant (who was 
one of the party) described as being one of the most frightful 



sounds he ever heard, he caught the unfortunate man with 
his horns, just as he had nearly escaped his reach, and tossed 
him in the air with such force, that the body fell, dreadfully 
mangled, into a lofty cleft of the tree. The Buffalo ran 
round the tree once or twice, apparently looking for the man, 
until, weakened with loss of blood, he again sunk on his knees. 
The rest of the party then, recovering from their confusion, 
came up and despatched him, though too late to save their 
comrade, whose body was hanging in the tree quite dead." * 

These animals, fierce and cruel as they seem, do not cer- 
tainly seek occasions for attacking even their deadliest enemy, 
Man. Although in herds of great numbers together, and 
when they could beat their pursuers to the dust, like reeds, 
they invariably seek to save themselves by retreating to the 
nearest thickets. The females exhibit the warm attachment 
to their offspring which is characteristic of the whole Buba- 
line race, and which a beneficent Providence has imprinted 
in the bosoms of the rudest creatures. It is for the safety of 
the young and females, that the bulls seem to act as the 
guardians of the herd. At the season, too, of sexual desire, 
numbers of the bulls being expelled by their fellows from the 
community, wander about for a season with excited passions, 
and then manifest that ferocity which has been witnessed. 

The chase of these animals in the forests of tangled brush- 
wood which they frequent, is attended with much danger. 
Their strong hides resist the rifle ball like a target, and 
common balls of lead are flattened when they strike their 
bones. For this reason, the balls employed are of great 
weight, and alloyed with tin, and even then they are some- 
times shattered, as if they had struck a wall of steel. The 
Hottentots are extremely dexterous in this dangerous chase, 
crawling on their bellies until they reach their victims, 
and using, instead of their ancient weapons, the rifles and 
long muskets with which their rude masters have supplied 

* Penny Magazine, 1832. 


them. But the Caffres are in a peculiar degree attached to 
this dangerous exercise : they pursue the chase in companies ; 
and when an individual discovers the herd, he winds a small 
pipe made of the thigh-bone of a Sheep, and his companions 
hastening to his aid. they environ the game, and pierce them 
with spears. The Bushmen, for the same purpose, use jave- 
lins and arrows dipped in poison. 

The flesh of these animals is said to be juicy and well- 
flavoured. But it is chiefly for their hides that they are 
valued by the African hunters and the farmers of the Cape. 
These are so thick and tough, that they may be formed into 
targets, musket-proof; they are used, too, for whips, and 
for the straps of harness, and are said to form the only halters 
that can be depended upon for securing horses and oxen, 
when picketted in travelling, and alarmed by the stealthy 
approach of the Wolf, or the rustle of the Lion.* 

The use of fire-arms is rapidly thinning the number of these 
powerful creatures within the European territory of the Cape : 
they slowly retire to the woods of the interior, where they 
can be safe from the dangerous weapons of their destroyers. 
Nor is man their only enemy : the Wolf, the Hyaena, and 
other fierce creatures, are the inhabitants of the same woods ; 
and the Lion, it is said, steals upon and attacks them. The 
natives speak of having been witnesses of these murderous 
conflicts ; and say, that wounds inflicted by Lions are often 
observed in the muzzles and bodies of such Buffaloes as are 
killed in the clmse ; and that the carcasses of Lions are some- 
times found gored by the terrible horns of the Buffalo. A 
question that arises is, can these wild and dangerous animals 
be subjected to servitude and domestication ? Sparrman in- 
forms us, that he saw a Buffalo calf, taken soon after birth, 
grazing amongst the other calves of the farm, and as docile 
as any of the herd. He accordingly expresses his belief, that 
the Buffalo calves, if taken young and properly trained, might 
be broken to the yoke. But the animals should not only be 

* Sparr man's Voyage. 

230 THE OX. 

taken young, but should be born and made to breed in the 
state of servitude, in order that it might be fully known what 
ultimate changes domestication would produce in their habits, 
and to what degree they could be rendered the assistants of 
man, instead of being, as now, the victims of his persecution. 

The next to be mentioned of the Bovine family is a native 
of India. The GAYAL or JUNGLE Ox, the Bos frontalis of 
Lambert, inhabits the mountain forests east of the Brahma- 
pootra, but doubtless extends far into the dense regions of 
forest beyond that noble river. The precise place which 
this species occupies amongst the Bovidse has not been sa- 
tisfactorily determined. He seems allied to the Bisontine 
and Taurine groups, and is probably to be regarded as the 
connecting link between them. 

The Jungle Ox has the head broad and flat above, and con- 
tracting suddenly to the muzzle. The horns are distant, 
thick at the base, and slightly compressed, the flat sides be- 
ing towards the front and rear ; the ears are long, the eyes 
are like those of the Common Ox, the muzzle is destitute of 
hairs. A sharp ridge runs from the back part of the neck 
and top of the shoulder, along about a third part of the back, 
and then suddenly terminates. The sacrum has a consider- 
able declination to the tail, making the rump round like that 
of a hog. The tail descends to about the hock, is covered 
with short hairs, and terminates in a tuft. The prevailing 
colour is brown of various shades, and the legs, belly, and 
tip of the tail, are white. This animal has a somewhat clumsy 
aspect, but is yet possessed of great activity and strength. 
He is of the size of an ordinary Ox of this country. He does 
not grunt in the manner of the Yak of Tartary, but lows like 
the Ox of Europe, although with a shriller and softer tone. 

In their wild state, the Gayals seem to be entirely the 
inhabitants of a country of dense forest, never, of their own 
accord, approaching to the plains ; and this habit they do not 
lose in the state of slavery. They delight to roam in the 
thickest woods ; they neglect the grasses, and rather love to 


browse on shrubs and tender shoots of trees : they repair to 
the jungle in search of their natural food, and ruminate under 
the shade of trees. They have not the habit of the Yak and 
the Buffalo of wallowing in water, but rather, in their habits, 
approach to the domestic race. The female goes with young 
eleven months : she yields very rich milk, but neither abun- 
dant nor lasting : she receives the male of the common race, 
and the progeny, it is said, is fruitful. 

The Gayals are hunted by certain tribes for their flesh, 
but they are also reclaimed to some extent in the East. 
They are perfectly docile in their domestic state, and are so 
fleet and active, that they may be used for the saddle. Cer- 
tain sects in India, it is said, sacrifice this animal to their 
gods ; but the Hindoos will not shed the blood of the Gayal ; 
their sacred books informing them that the female of the 
Gayal is like the Cow, and to be held in the same veneration. 

The Taurine group of Bovidae comprehends the DOMESTIC 
Ox, Bos Taurus, under its several modifications of varieties 
or species. Whether the various members of this group are 
to be regarded as species, or merely as modifications of a 
common stock, that is, varieties or races, depends upon the 
meaning which is to be assigned to these terms. The 
Taurine group throughout the world possesses characters of 
resemblance, which may allow the naturalists to regard 
them as a single species, just as we may so regard the 
various races of Dogs : but, at the same time, there are dif- 
ferences between the members quite as great as in other 
cases are employed to discriminate species. The Zebu of the 
East differs as much, in external characters, from the Ox of 
Europe, as the Ass from the Zebra ; and there are subor- 
dinate races so divergent, that it is" difficult to resist the 
conclusion, that the Domesticated Oxen of different parts of 
the world have been derived from animals so distinct in the 
natural state, that they may either be regarded as species, 
or very permanent varieties. 

Of the wild species of Ox, we have authentic records of 



one, at least, which existed in the ancient forests of Europe, 
and which, we shall see, is not yet extinct. This animal was 
termed Urochs by the older Germans, a word which is de- 
rived from Ur, a root common to many languages, and signi- 
fying original or old, and ochs, an ox. The Greek and Ro- 
man writers employed the term Urus, either borrowed from 
the Teutonic, or derived from the same root, Ur, which 
entered into the composition of their own Taugof and Taurus. 
From the same source are derived the Shur and Tur of the 
Hebrew and other languages of the East ; and hence, too, 
the Thur of the Poles, the Tyr, Tyer, Stier, Steer, in the 
dialects of northern Europe. We find, too, terms derived 
from the designation of the bull applied to the names of 
countries, mountains, and forests ; as the Turan of Persia, 
the Turan of the Caucasus, the Turin of Italy, the Tours of 
France, the Thuringian forest, and many more. 

The Uri are described by Julius Caesar as existing in the 
Hercynian forest, as being little short of elephants in size, 
and as being of the kind, colour, and figure of the bull.* 
Pliny refers to them as inhabitants of Scythia and Germany, 
along with the Bison, adverting, at the same time, to the 
vulgar error of confounding the Urus with the Bubalus, 
which, says he, was an animal like a Stag brought from 
Africa. Solinus repeats the opinion of Pliny. " In the 
tract of the Hercynian forest, and in all the northern regions, 
are likewise Uri, which the ignorant vulgar term Bubali." 
But the great confusion which subsequently took place, was 
in confounding the Urus with the Bison, although the dis- 
tinction had been drawn by Pliny, Seneca, Pomponius, and 
other writers. More modern authors still more distinctly 
point out the difference between those animals. Thus, Lau- 
rentius, in his commentaries on the affairs of his own time, 
writes : " In Lithuania there are Bisons, Uri, and likewise 
Elks : those are in error who call the Bisons, Uri ; for the 

* In Sylva Hercyniae nascuntur qui appellantur Uri. Hi sunt magnitudine 
paulo infra Klephantos, specie et colore et figura Tauri. De Belh Gallico. 


Bisons differ from the Uri, which have the form of an Ox, 
in having manes, and long hairs about the neck, in having a 
beard hanging from the chin, and in smelling of musk." In 
an ancient poem on a hunting match near Worms, we have 
a distinct account of the number of Bisons, Uri, and Elks, 
which were respectively slain ; and various chroniclers refer 
to the hunting of the ancient Uri in the forests of Europe. 
Heberstein, De Rebus Muscov., and Martin Cromer, De Situ 
Polonise, writers of the sixteenth century, describe the dis- 
tinction between the Bison or Zubr of the Poles, and the 
Thur of the same nation ; and Anthony Schneibergen de- 
scribes the Thur as differing from the domestic race only in 
size and colour. Yet, in the middle ages, Albertus Magnus, 
and other writers, fell into the error of confounding those 
animals ; and several German writers applied the term 
Urochs or Auerochs, the undoubted designation of their own 
Urus, to the Bison ; and modern naturalists, in opposition to 
the testimony of the older writers, are yet found to maintain 
the same error.* 

* Fossil skulls have been found in various parts of Europe resembling those 
of the domestic races, and differing from them only in size. But these bones 
indicate an animal greatly surpassing in magnitude any of the modern races 
of cattle. They are usually about one-third or more larger in linear size, 
indicating an animal nearly three times the bulk of the oxen of the present 
time. Their remains are found in the same alluvial deposites as those of 
the Elephant, and other large animals which formerly inhabited Europe, prov- 
ing that they lived at the same era : they are found likewise in the pame situa- 
tions as the great extinct Irish Elk, and thus seem to have survived various 
species with which they were associated, and even, perhaps, to have survived 
till within the historic era. A question, however, which has been agitated by 
naturalists is, Whether these huge animals are the origin of the domestic races, 
and may not even have been the Uri described by Caesar ? The question is one 
which bears less than is assumed upon the origin of the existing races. We 
can, bv all the evidence which the question admits of, trace existing races to 
the ancient Uri which, long posterior to the historical era, inhabited the forests 
of Germany, Gaul, Britain, and other countries. It is a question involving an 
entirely different series of considerations, whether these Uri were themselves 
descended from an anterior race, surpassing them in magnitude, and inhabit- 
ing the globe at the same time with other extinct species. While there is 
nothing that can directly support this hypothesis, there is nothing certainly 
founded on analogy that can enable us to invalidate it. There is nothing more 

234 THE OX. 

The Uri of the forests of Europe seem to have rapidly 
decreased in numbers, with the progress of settlement and 
cultivation in different countries. Anthony Fitzstephen, who 
wrote in the latter part of the reign of Henry II., describes 
them as then abounding in the great forests round London. 
John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, who wrote in 1598, states that 
the Wild Ox, which he terms Bos Sylvestris, was found in 
the woods of Scotland ; that it was of a white colour, had a 
thick mane resembling a lion's ; that it was wild and savage, 
and, when irritated, rushed upon the hunters, overthrew the 
horses, and despised the attacks of the fiercest dogs. He 
says that it had formerly abounded in the Sylva Caledonia, 
but was then only to be found at Stirling, Cumbernauld, and 

Hector Boece, in his History and Chronicles of Scotland, 
bears testimony to the like effect : " At this toun" (namely 
Stirling), " began the grit wod of Calidon. This wod of 
Calidon ran fra Striveling throw Menteith and Stratherne, 
to Atholl and Lochquabir, as Ptolome writtis in his first 
table. In this wod wes sum time quhit bullis, with crisp and 
curland mane, like feirs lionis, and thoucht thay semit meek 
and tame in the remanent figure of thair bodyis, thay wer 
mair wild than ony uthir beistis, and had sic hatrent aganis 
the societe and cumpany of men, that thay come nevir in the 
wodis, nor lesuris quhair thay fand ony feit or haind thairof, 

incredible in the supposition, that animals should diminish in size, with changes 
in the condition of the earth, than that they should be extinguished altogether, 
and supplanted by new species. The fossil Urus inhabited Europe when a very 
different condition existed with regard to temperature, the supplies of vege- 
table food, and the consequent development of animal forms. Why should not 
the Urus, under these conditions, have been a far larger animal than he subse- 
quently became? We know by experience the effects of food in increasing or 
diminishing the size of this very race of animals. The great Ox of the Lin- 
colnshire fens exceeds in size the little Ox of Barbary or the Highland Hills, 
as much as the fossil Urus exceeded the larger Oxen of Germany and England ; 
and we cannot consider it as incredible, that an animal which inhabited Europe 
when Elephants found food and a climate suited to their natures, should have 
greatly surpassed in magnitude the same species under the present conditions 
of the same countries. 


any mony dayis eftir, thay eit nocht of the herbis that wer 
twichit or handillit be men. Thir bullis wer sa wild, that 
thay wer nevir tane but slight and crafty laubour, and sa 
impacient that, eftir thair taking, they deit for importable 
doloure. Alse sone as ony man invadit thir bullis, they 
ruschit with so terrible preis on him, that they dang him to 
the eird, takand na feir of houndis, scharp lancis, nor uthir 
maist penitrive wapinnis.'' " And thoucht thir bullis wer 
bred in sindry boundis of the Calidon Wod, now, be conti- 
wal hunting and lust of insolent men, thay are distroyit in 
all partis of Scotland, and nane of thaim left bot allanerlie 
in Cumarnald." * 

In this their last retreat, they were subjected to persecu- 
tion : In a remarkable document written in 1570-71, the 
writer, describing the aggressions of the King's party, com- 
plains of the destruction of the Deer in the forest of Cum- 
bernauld, " and the quhit ky and bullis of the said forrest, to 
the gryt destructione of polecie, and hinder of the common- 
weill. For that kynd of ky and bullis he bein kepit thir 
money zeiris in the said forrest, and the like was not man- 
tenit in ony vther partis of the He of Albion." t 

Thus were the Uri of the Scottish forests driven from the 
woods 'which they inhabited, destroyed, or made captive. 
Part, indeed, had been preserved in some of the parks at- 
tached to the religious houses, their flesh being more esteemed 
than that of " their awin tame bestial." But, with the de- 
struction of the Ancient Establishments, the oxen were 
dispersed, destroyed, or mingled with the common races. 
In a few places only they seem to have been preserved 
without intermixture, chiefly in the Parks of the Dukes 
of Queensberry at Drumlanrig, and of the Dukes of Ha- 
milton, called the Chace of Cadzow. Those at Drumlanrig 
were, many years ago, destroyed by an order of the late 

* History and Chronicles of Scotland, by Hector Boece, translated by John 

f Illustrations of Scottish History, preserved from Manuscripts, by Sir John 
Graham Dalyell, Bart. 

236 THE OX. 

Duke of Queensberry : those at the noble park of Hamilton 
are yet in existence, preserved with care. They have lost 
the thick mane ascribed to them by the early writers, and 
the females have generally become destitute of horns ; but 
all their other characters shew them indubitably to be the 
descendants of the ancient race. They are of the size of the 
cattle of the West Highlands: they are of a dun white 
colour ; and the muzzle, the inside of the ears, the tongue, and 
the hoofs, are black. They are very wild, and cautious of being 
approached ; and when suddenly come upon, they scamper 
off, turn round as if to examine the intruder, and generally 
gallop in circles, as if meditating an attack. They are not, 
however, vicious, though some of the bulls have manifested 
the savage and dogged temper of their race. Some persons 
have been pursued to trees. One poor bird-catcher, we are 
informed by Mr Patrick, when exercising his trade in the 
forest, was attacked by a savage bull : he had time to save 
himself by climbing up a tree ; and he had there an opportu- 
nity of observing the habits of his assailant. The furious 
creature seemed to quiver with rage, and frequently attacked 
the tree with his head and hoofs. Finding his efforts vain, he 
left off the attempt, and began to browse at some distance. 
The prisoner then tried to descend, that he mightjmake his 
escape ; but the watchful brute was at his post in an instant, 
and the poor man was not relieved until after many hours, 
on assistance arriving. Another individual was attacked on 
a summer evening : he was fortunate in reaching a tree, but 
was watched by the implacable brute throughout the whole 
night, and until late on the following day. These examples 
are remarkable, shewing, in the Wild Ox, that savage, per- 
tinacious, and implacable temper, which we know some others 
of the Bovine family display in their state of nature. The 
females conceal their calves amongst thickets or long grass, 
returning to them cautiously twice or thrice in the day, to 
suckle them. The little creatures exhibit the instincts of 
their race: when suddenly approached, they manifest extreme 
trepidation, throwing their ears close back upon their necks, 


and squatting upon the ground. The only method of killing 
the older animals is by shooting them. When the keepers ap- 
proach for that purpose, the poor creatures seem to be aware 
of their danger : they gallop away with speed in a dense mass, 
preserving, we are informed, a profound silence, and keeping 
close by the coverts and fences : the cows, in the mean time, 
that have calves forsake the herd, and repair to the places 
where their young are concealed, in order to defend them. 

The remains of the same remarkable race are to be found 
in several parks in England, differing only from those de- 
scribed in so far as differences of situation may be supposed 
to have affected their characters. Of these, the most re- 
markable are those kept in the ancient park of Chillingham, 
the property of the Earl of Tankerville. These appear to 
have remained the nearest in their characters to the original 
race. The herd at present amounts to about eighty in num- 
ber, consisting of about twenty-five bulls, forty cows, and 
fifteen steers. The eye-lashes and tips of the horns are 
black, the muzzle is brown, the inside and a portion of the 
external part of the ears are reddish-brown, and all the rest 
of the animal is white. The bulls have merely the rudiments 
of manes, consisting of a ridge of coarse hairs upon the neck. 
The bulls fight for supremacy, and the vanquished submit to 
the law of superior strength. They are very shy and wild, 
and start off on the approach of danger; and, when they 
threaten an attack, they make circles around the object, ap- 
proaching nearer at each time. Lord Tankerville describes 
their method of retreat, which is eminently characteristic of 
their wild habits. Like the Red Deer, they place the in- 
equalities of the ground between them and their pursuers : 
they set off in a kind of walk, which increases to a trot, and 
then, having got the ground between them and the object, 
they retreat at a gallop, availing themselves of the inequali- 
ties of the ground in such a manner, that they will traverse 
the whole park almost without being seen. The females 
conceal their young, returning to suckle them several times 

238 THE OX. 

a-day. The calves have the instinctive wildness of the 
parents, couching on the ground like fawns, when surprised. 
It is said that, when one of the herd is wounded, or disabled 
from age, the rest will set upon and destroy it ; a trait com- 
mon to other ruminants, to the Deer, and even to the 
Sheep, in its wildest and rudest state. These animals can 
be all readily domesticated. When taken young, and treated 
in the manner of the common oxen, they assume entirely the 
habits of the domestic race. 

One circumstance common to both the herds of Wild Oxen 
referred to, is the tendency of the young to deviate from the 
" marking," as it is termed, of the parents ; that is, to be- 
come altogether black, or altogether white, or to have black 
ears in place of red ears, and so on : these animals are de- 
stroyed, and, therefore, the interesting part of the experi- 
ment is interrupted, of shewing what characters they would 
assume, were they to be left in the natural state. Nothing 
is better known to breeders than that, by such means, all the 
characters of colour can be produced in any breed ; thus the 
North Devon can be kept all red, the Pembroke all black, 
and so on ; and this is done from generation to generation, 
by the course pursued in the case of these wild herds. 

The other parks of England in which the remains of this 
race have been, or are yet, preserved, are at Chartley, in 
Staffordshire, at Wollaton in Nottinghamshire, at Gisburne 
in Craven, at Limehall in Cheshire, at Kibbesdale in York- 
shire, and at Burton Constable in Yorkshire. 

The wild cattle at Chartley Park, the -property of Lord 
Ferrers, resemble those at Chillingham, but they are of larger 
size, and have the muzzles and ears black. They frequently 
tend to become entirely black ; and a singular superstition 
prevails in the vicinity, that, when a black calf is born, some 
calamity impends over the noble house of Ferrers. All the 
black calves are destroyed ; and thus, as in other cases, we 
are unable to know what ultimate character of colour the race 
would assume. This park is a very ancient one : it belonged 


to Devereux, Earl of Essex, and the cattle have existed in it 
from time immemorial. 

Those which are kept at Bibbesdale are destitute of horns. 
The breed at Burton Constable, situated in the district of 
Holderness, perished all in the course of the last century, of 
an epidemic disorder. They were of large size, a conse- 
quence of the richness of the pasture in which they fed. 
They had the ears, muzzle, and tip of the tail, black. 

Other herds of this race appear to have existed in different 
parts of England, but they have merged in the common 
breeds of the country, and the records of them have been 
lost. Fortunately, however, for the inquiries of the natu- 
ralist, the same animals are yet to be found in that part of 
the kingdom where we naturally should look for the exist- 
ence of an indigenous race of cattle, namely, Wales, under 
such circumstances as to set at rest the questions that have 
been agitated regarding the relation which exists between 
them and the domestic race. 

The ancient Britons, it is known, when their country was 
overwhelmed by the Roman power, made a brave defence in 
the mountains beyond the Severn, preserving their flocks 
and herds, in all times the cherished possession of the Celtic 
nations. Although overrun for a season by the Roman 
legions, they defended themselves against the Saxon nations 
with determined courage, and only yielded at length, at a 
long posterior period, to the English power, when it became 
too strong to be resisted ; and even then they retained their 
customs, their language, and their national feelings. It is 
here, as in the countries beyond the Grampians, that we must 
look for the older races of the domestic oxen of the country. 

It appears from various notices, that a race of cattle, 
similar to that which we now find at Chillingham Park and 
elsewhere, existed in Wales in the 10th century. Howell 
Dha, surnamed the Good, describes certain cattle of Wales 
as being white, and having red ears. At a subseqent period, 
we are informed that, as a compensation" for offences com- 

240 THE ox. 

mitted against certain Princes of Wales, there were de- 
manded 100 white cows with red ears ; but that, if the cattle 
were of a black colour, 150 were to be given. When the 
Princes of Wales were compelled to render homage to the 
ICings of England, the same kinds of cattle, we are in- 
formed, were sometimes rendered in acknowledgment of the 
sovereignty. In an old history of Flanders, quoted by Holm- 
shed, it is stated that the lady of the Lord de Breuse, in 
order to appease King John, whom she and her husband had 
mortally offended, sent to the Queen a present of 400 kine and 
one bull, all of white colour except the ears, which were red. 

The individuals of this race yet existing in Wales are 
found chiefly in the county of Pembroke, where they have 
been kept by some individuals perfectly pure, as a part of 
their regular farm-stock. Until a period comparatively 
recent, they were very numerous ; and persons are yet living 
in the county of Pembroke, who remember when they were 
driven in droves to the pastures of the Severn, and the neigh- 
bouring markets. Their whole essential characters are the 
same as those at Chillingham and Chartley Park, and else- 
where. Their horns are white, tipped with black, and ex- 
tended and turned upwards in the manner distinctive of the 
wild breed. The inside of the ears and the muzzle are black, 
and their feet are black to the fetlock joint. Their skin is 
unctuous, and of a deep-toned yellow colour. Individuals of 
this race are sometimes born entirely black, and then they are 
not to be distinguished from the common cattle of the moun- 

The same race has been found in several parts of the 
Continent of Europe. In Italy a few herds have been pre- 
served. In the North of Sweden, the race can yet be dis- 
tinguished amongst the reclaimed cattle of the country. In 
the denies of the Pyrenees, they have been observed by 
English sportsmen, altogether wild, and marked in the same 
manner as the cattle of the parks, and in no respect to be 
distinguished from them. 


The peculiar colour and marking which this race assumes 
and retains in the English parks, has been supposed by some 
to indicate a distinction of species, But colour, as is well 
known to naturalists, is one of the external characters of ani- 
mals the least to be regarded as indicative of specific dis- 
tinctions ; and, in the case of these oxen, it has been seen that 
the character itself is not constant. It may seem remark- 
able that these animals, in their wild state, should be all 
white, with coloured muzzles and ears ; but this is not 
more remarkable than that Boars, in the wild state, should 
be brown, or Turkeys in the wild state black, with white 
tips to their wings. The colour, we may suppose, is that 
which the animals tended to assume in a wooded country in 
the climate of Albion. Under other conditions of tempera- 
ture and food, the colour of the same variety might become 
black, with a peculiar marking equally constant. An ancient 
writer, speaking of Uri in the woods of Poland, describes 
them as black, with a white streak along the chine. In the 
North Highlands of Scotland, the prevailing colour of the 
cattle is black : but sometimes individuals are born white, 
with coloured ears and muzzle, so nearly resembling the Wild 
Cattle of the parks, that they would be mistaken for them. 

The habits of the wild race have been supposed to present 
an impassable distinction between it and the tame ; but this 
difference assuredly does not constitute a distinction of species. 
It is known that the instincts and habits of animals are suited 
to the condition in which they are placed, and change with 
-that condition. The Wild Hog, a bold and powerful creature 
in his state of liberty, is no sooner submitted to domestica- 
tion, than his habits adapt themselves to his new condition, 
and he communicates to his offspring all the habits which 
fit them for a state of slavery ; and so it is with other 
animals subjected to domestication. The Wild Oxen of 
the parks, breeding solely with one another, and living, in 
so far as their confined condition will allow, in the natural 


242 THE OX. 

state, retain the habits and instincts proper to them in that 
condition, and communicate these to their young. Hence 
the young calves couch themselves on the ground, and 
tremble when approached ; but these characters disappear 
in the next generation, when the animals are domesticated : 
hence the mothers conceal their calves, and return to suckle 
them at stated times ; but the same thing has been observed in 
the case of cows of the Scotch mountains, when left in a state 
of liberty. All the habits of these animals, in short, includ- 
ing that of goring to death their wounded companions, are 
those of the wild'state, and disappear when they are reclaimed. 
Thus we have all the evidence which the question admits 
of, that no real distinction exists between the Wild Oxen of 
the parks, and those which have for ages been subjected to 
domestication in the same country ; and that these Wild 
Oxen are no other than the Uri of the ancient forests of Eu- 
rope. That the wild of the Bos Taurus inhabited, in like 
manner, the woods of Western Asia, may, from analogy, be 
inferred. The Scriptures speak of Wild Oxen, as distin- 
guished from those that are tame ; and the Arabian poets 
abound with allusions to the hunting of the Wild Bull, J)ut 
do not afford data for determining whether this was the 
Urus, the Bison, or any other species. 

The Ox has been domesticated from the earliest records 
of human society, and may be deemed to have been an in- 
strument, under Providence, for leading men from the savage 
state. Although endowed with vast physical powers, his 
instinct leads him to yield up his faculties to the service of 
man, by assisting him in bearing burdens, and tilling the 
earth ; and in every age his patient docility has been applied 
to these ends. The wealth of the first people was their 
flocks and herds : " And Abram was very rich in cattle, in 
silver, and in gold; and he went on his journeys from the 
south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at 
the beginning, between Bethel and Hai, unto the place of the 


altar which he had made there at the first ; and there Abram 
called on the name of the Lord ; and Lot also, which went 
with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents." And in the 
case of all the early nations of which we read, the Ox was 
amongst the valued possessions of the people. He was a me- 
dium of traffic, and his image came at length to be stamped 
upon the metals used as money. His flesh was usually per- 
mitted to be eaten, though, in certain cases, the use of it 
was limited, or altogether forbidden, as when he was em- 
ployed in labour, or when his numbers were few, as in the 
earlier stages of societies. The Hindoos were forbidden to 
shed his blood at all ; the Egyptians were only permitted to 
do so at sacrifices ; and other nations were compelled to 
equal abstinence. The Jews were suffered to partake of his 
flesh freely, on the condition, simply, that the firstling of the 
herd should be dedicated to the Lord, and that no part of the 
blood should be tasted ; but the Jews were naturally abste- 
mious in the use of animal food, and such of the calves as 
were not killed, were mostly brought up for the purposes of 
labour, or the yielding of milk. 

History, sacred and profane, evinces to us in what estima- 
tion this gift of Providence has been held in every age. The 
Bull became one of the signs of the Zodiac in the earliest 
period of nations. He formed an object of adoration to 
people of the East, as he yet does to their descendants, after 
the lapse of an unknown period. The Egyptians made him 
the subject of a preposterous worship, as did the Lybians and 
other ancient nations ; and he entered largely into the my- 
thological systems of Greece and Rome. Independently, 
too, of religious feeling, a certain respect was manifested 
towards the Ox, on account of the services he rendered. The 
precept of the Jewish law, " Thou shalt not muzzle the 
ox when he treadeth out the corn," which likewise is a 
precept of the Hindoo law, was an observance founded on 
tenderness towards the animal, as well as an expression 
of thankfulness at this the crowning labour of the har- 



vest. The rustic writers of the Romans, in their lessons 
on the treatment of the labouring Ox, shew how much of 
real humanity entered into their feelings regarding this 
ancient and docile assistant of the husbandman. They 
direct that the length of .the furrow shall not exceed 120 
paces, or else that the oxen shall have a time for breath- 
ing allowed them before they are urged to renewed eiforts. 
The ploughman is required to shift the yoke, that their backs 
may not be galled, to moisten their mouths with water, 
and to strengthen them with wine when they are suffering 
from fatigue. Even the safeguard of the laws was thrown 
around these humble servants of the farm. To destroy them 
wantonly was a public crime. A Roman citizen, we are 
informed by Pliny, was condemned to exile, because he had 
killed his labouring ox, to gratify the appetite of a capricious 
boy ; and other examples are on record, to testify how greatly 
the useful services of the Ox were valued. The Celtic na- 
tions of Europe seem to have possessed somewhat of the 
same sentiments, mixed with religious feelings. Even to 
our own day, certain superstitious remembrances are attached 
to the Red Cow, whose milk is believed to be a charm for 
certain ailments. 

The Ox contributes to human support, by other means than 
his strength employed in labour, or his body rendered to us 
when dead. The female yields her milk in quantity not only 
sufficient to rear her own offspring, but to afford a salutary 
food to her protectors. She gives it with a facility and in 
an abundance unknown in the case of any other animal. 
While most of the mammalia will refuse to yield their milk 
unless their young be suffered to partake of it, the Cow gives 
it beyond the period of maternal solicitude as freely as when 
her young is before her eyes. She is every where docile, 
patient, and gentle. She remains quiescent with the herd, 
or shares with humbleness her portion of the shed which is 
their common shelter. She obeys the commands of her keeper, 
and recognises the milkmaid's voice. 


While the female is thus gentle and humble, the bull re- 
tains much of the natural fierceness of his race. He scarcely 
fears an enemy, and is easily excited to rage. He can be 
reduced to subjection by the effects of discipline, and made 
to assist in all the labours of the field ; but yet his passions 
are often suddenly excited, and his great strength may be 
dangerously exerted. But, by depriving him of his virile 
powers, all the native ferocity of his race disappears, and he 
becomes as submissive as the heifer. It is then that he gives 
us the benefit of his vast strength, exempt from the danger of 
his natural temperament, bending his neck to patient toil, 
and grazing with content in his allotted pastures. 

We are apt to associate with the character of this useful 
creature, ideas of apathy, and want of intelligence. But the 
brain of the Ox is larger than that of the Horse ; and, though 
he is far inferior to that noble creature in spirit and grace, 
it is questionable if he falls short of him in sagacity. The 
bull has been known to charge himself with the guardianship 
of the herd, to keep them from wandering into forbidden 
pastures, and to protect from intruders their allotted bound- 
aries. When beasts of prey approach, he is at the post of 
danger, marshalling the herd into a phalanx, and placing the 
young in the centre and rear. 

When the season of sexual desire arrives, fierce combats 
ensue between the rival bulls. Their eyes sparkle with rage, 
and they rush upon one another with desperate force. But 
their fury is given, not for the purpose of mutual destruction, 
but for an end connected with the preservation of the health 
and vigour of the race. It is necessary that the strongest 
males should propagate the race, to preserve it from feebleness 
and degeneracy. They contend with the powerful strength 
and arms with which Nature has supplied them, for the mas- 
tery of the herd. But they do not seek to shed each other's 
blood. The vanquished yield to the law of superior strength, 
and the most powerful assumes his fitting place. 

In the vast plains of South America, where the emanci- 

24G THE OX. 

pated herds have regained a certain degree of natural liberty, 
travellers have observed that, when a bullock has been slain 
for food, the herd surround the murderers of their comrade, 
and express, by loud cries and groans, their sympathy and 
sorrow, while tears have seemed to roll from their eyes. They 
cannot know why the blood of their fellow should be shed, 
and his body mangled ; but they shew that nature has not 
rendered them insensible to the sufferings of their comrades. 
When the Ox is merely a beast to* be fattened and destroy- 
ed, when he neither shares the toils of his master, nor par- 
ticipates in his regards, when his instincts have been blunt- 
ed, without instruction having been supplied, he does indeed 
seem to become the stupid and insensible brute which we 
hold him to be. What need has he of intelligence in order 
that he may be tied to the stall, or driven to his pasture, and 
back again to the slaughter-house I Nature is sparing of her 
mental gifts, giving to each creature that which fits it for its 
condition. What, to the victim of our gluttony and avarice, 
destined to unnatural repletion at the stall that he may be 
fattened in the shortest time, and doomed to die a cruel 
death, would avail the gifts of consciousness of danger, doci- 
lity, and the knowledge of what is good for him ? His brief 
life would be the more embittered, and the bounties of Na- 
ture would be a cruel present. But let us look at those wild 
Oxen which have never been reduced to slavery, as the Uri 
of our parks, or the European Oxen, which, in the fertile wil- 
derness of the New World, have regained their liberty, and 
we shall find a creature altogether different from the stupid 
and insensible slave whom we have degraded. We shall find 
him wary of danger, resolute in his defence against the beasts 
of prey, agile and swift, arid calling into action all his instincts 
for his own defence, and braving death that he may protect 
the feeble of his herd. Nay, let us regard him, even in his 
enslaved condition, but when human reason has aided him 
with a ray of light, and we shall see him become almost as 
docile as a dog, guarding the property of his master, nay, so 


far departing from his natural habits, as to mingle, for his 
master's sake, in scenes of strife and bloodshed. 

In the vast regions of Southern Africa, peopled by tribes 
of warriors and herdsmen, cattle abound and multiply, and 
form the wealth of the little communities. The simple and 
patient Hottentots, while yet they had a country which they 
could call their own, were rich in this kind of possession ; 
and even yet, after generations of servitude, retain the habits 
and feelings of their nomadic'state. The tending of cattle is 
still the favourite employment of their lives. They know the 
individuals of the herd, and address them by their names. 
They had their backleys, or trained oxen, of which each kraal 
had at least six : they were selected from those which seemed 
the most capable of receiving instruction, and when one died 
or became unserviceable from age, another was chosen with 
due solemnity by the elders of the tribe to supply its room. 
They were taught to become the guardians of the flocks and 
herds of the little community ; and they kept watch against the 
attacks of beasts of prey. The Hysena, we are told, however 
hungry, would not venture to attack a flock guarded by two or 
three of these courageous creatures, which, when in sufficient 
numbers, would even make head against the Lion in defence 
of their charge. They kept watch against the robbers of other 
tribes. They knew all the inhabitants of the kraal, men, 
women, and children, and manifested towards them the same 
respect which a dog displays to those who live in the house 
of his master. Whilst, therefore, there was no inhabitant of 
the kraal who might not with safety have approached the 
flocks, yet, should a stranger have attempted to do so, and 
especially a European, without being accompanied by a Hot- 
tentot, he would have been in great danger : the backleys 
would have come upon him at speed, and, unless he had fire- 
arms to defend himself, or had the means of escape to a tree, 
or was within reach of the shepherds, he would surely have 
been killed.* Not only were these backleys employed to be 

* Ivolben, vol. i. 

248 THE OX, 

the guides and protectors of the common flock, but others 
were trained for the purposes of war. Even still, these war- 
oxen are used by the Caffres and independent tribes of the in- 
terior. They are taught to share the fierce passions of their 
masters ; to rush upon the opposing ranks, trample the men 
under their feet, and gore them with their horns.* 

Nothing seems more unlike the dull and apathetic tem- 
perament of the Ox than a love of distinction ; yet that a feel- 
ing akin to this may exist, appears from a curious fact fre- 
quently mentioned. In the mountains of Switzerland, where 
a beautiful race of cows is reared, it is the practice to attach 
bells to the most trusty of the cows, that the sound may keep 
the herd together, and direct the herdsman to the place 
where they are pasturing. These cows are the pride of the 
cowkeeper: he has various sets of these bells, and on cer- 
tain occasions, the favourite cow has the finest and largest 
bell assigned to her, and the gayest trappings : the others 
have inferior bells, and less ornamented collars, in a gra- 
dation downwards to those to which no distinction is awarded. 
To deprive the cows of their wonted ornaments is to inflict 
upon them a punishment w r hich they grievously feel, mani- 
festing their sense of humiliation by piteous lowings. On 
gala days, a kind of procession takes place ; the herdsman is 
in the van, and next in order comes the favourite cow, lead- 
ing the herd, ornamented with her tinkling bells, and gay 
apparel. Should another, from any cause, be made to take 
her place, she manifests her vexation by continued lowing, 
abstains from food, and attacks with fury the rival that has 
gained her honours. A certain cow, M. Latrobe informs us, 
who had long borne the badge of distinction, had just given 
birth to a calf, and was reckoned too feeble to bear her usual 
post in the honours of the day, and even the ordinary bell was 
thought to be too heavy for her. The gay procession moved 
on, but the poor cow that had been stripped of her accus- 
tomed honours did not share in the general joy : after a few 

* Le Vaillant, vol. ii. 

HISTORY. . 249 

steps she faltered in her pace : the attendants tried to coax 
her on, but in vain : she stopped, and at length lay down as 
if to die. An old herdsman soon divined the cause : he 
brought from the house a bell and collar, such as she had 
been used to bear : she no sooner felt the well-known appen- 
dage at her neck than she rose from the ground, bounded 
gaily, as if in possession of her usual health, and, taking her 
place in the van, was, from that moment, as well as ever. 
It is known, that a practice of the mountain peasants of 
Switzerland, is to collect the herds by sounding a long wooden 
pipe, whose deep and simple tones, mellowed by distance, 
delight the ear. No sooner does the well-known sound reach 
the herd, than they all obey the signal, and hasten to the 
place of rendezvous. Should one, from any cause, as from 
falls or weakness, be unable to keep pace with her fellows, 
she utters loud and painful lowings, as if calling for assist- 
ance, and testifying that it is want of power, and not of will, 
that makes her linger behind her comrades. The simple 
tones of the herdsman's pipe form the well-known air of the 
Ranz de Yaches, which is known to thrill like a charm to the 
heart of the mountain Swiss, when distant from his beloved 

Such is the creature which reason and conscience teach us 
to treat with humanity and justice. It is painful to say that , 
it is too often made the victim of wanton cruelty. Who has 
not heard of those barbarous sports which are yet practised 
in the southern countries of Europe, where the bull, brought 
into the arena, is roused to phrensy, and put to a cruel 
death I The bull-fights of Spain and Italy are yet the de- 
light of all conditions of people in those countries, and afford 
the evidence of the power of habit to blunt the most natural 
feelings, and reconcile us to the most revolting spectacles. 

Throughout the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal are ex- 
tensive forests, in^which large herds of cattle find support, 
almost in a state of natural wildness. It is from these herds 
that the fiercest and strongest bulls are obtained, by a kind 

250 THE OX. 

of hunting, nearly as dangerous as the subsequent combat in 
which the victims are to engage. The country people, from 
great distances, assemble, mounted on horseback as best they 
can, and armed with long staves, terminated by long spikes. 
Lines being formed, they surround the herd, and endeavour 
to separate the bulls. This they do by galloping to a bull, 
and goading him with their ' spikes ; the animal, enraged, 
turns upon his assailant, and pursues him ; but another 
horseman attacking him in a similar manner, the animal 
turns upon his new enemy, who is in like manner relieved, 
and so on, until at length the bull, tired out and bewildered, 
is separated from his fellows. A sufficient number having 
been treated in this manner, they are hemmed in by the 
armed horsemen, and goaded forward to the town or place 
where the future combat is to take place.* 

The fights of the Circus itself have been described by all 
travellers who have visited these beautiful countries. The 
bull, admitted into the arena, is received with the shouts of 
the assembled spectators. Bewildered and amazed, he rushes 
forward, but is at once confronted by the Picadore on foot, 
armed with short darts. The animal rushes wildly on his 
opponent, who, with matchless dexterity and grace, avoids 
the onset, and plants his short darts in the neck and body of 
the victim. Bellowing with rage and pain, the wounded ani- 
mal gallops round the slaughter-house, and is confronted by 
other Picadores with the like success, until the spectators, 
satiated, permit him to be relieved from persecution, or direct 
him to be slain. But, in other cases, armed horsemen enter 
the lists, and attack the bull with lances. In this manner, 
the youthful cavaliers display, to the best advantage, their 
courage and address. But this sport is more dangerous and 
bloody than the other, for often one or more horses are mor- 
tally wounded, while shouts and screams of joy attest the 
delight of the spectators. In modern Rome, the same sports 

Library of Entertaining Knowledge. Menageries. 


are practised, though with somewhat less of inhumanity than 
in Spain.* The bulls are of the fine race of the Campagna 
di Roma, which are of larger size than those of Spain. They 
are cruelly baited, but never put to death, though the less 
manly practice is sometimes adopted of setting upon them 
with large dogs, chiefly of the Corsican breed, which pin the 
bulls by the ears and lips. The dogs, however, are often 
the victims, the infuriated bulls catching them with their 
long horns, tossing them in the air, and goring them to 

The Ox, in certain cases, regains his liberty, and multi- 
plies in the natural state. Thus, in the forests of Spain and 
Portugal, emancipated oxen, it has been said, are numerous. 
They have become more wild, swift, and wary, but have not 
deviated from the external characters of the subdued race. 
When taken, and reduced to captivity, they soon reassume 
the general habits of the domesticated breeds. In Italy, 
great numbers of cattle may be said to be nearly wild : they 
are the inhabitants of those flat and pestilential tracts which 
stretch between the Appenines and the sea, from Naples, 
northward, including the well-known Campagna di Roma. 
To this dreary tract is applied the general term Maremma, 
which, during a period of the year, is the abode of pestilence 
and death, and is thinly strewed with inhabitants, the vic- 
tims of terrible diseases. The cattle are under the charge 
of armed herdsmen, who, when the animals are to be taken 
to the towns, pursue them on horseback, fasten them to one 
another by the horns, and goad them onward with their long 

But it is in the fertile plains of South America, that the phe- 
nomenon presents itself, on the grandest scale, of the escape 
of oxen from captivity, and of their multiplication in the 
state of nature. The origin of those amazing herds which 
cover the plains of Paraguay, Buenos Ayres, and other noble 
provinces, is traced, by Spanish writers, to the arrival, by the 
way of Brazil, of seven cows and a bull from Andalusia, at 

252 THE OX. 

the city of Assumption, on the Paraguay, in the year 1556. 
The owner of these animals having driven them overland to 
the Great Rio Grange or Parana, constructed a rude raft, 
and entrusted them to the care of one Gaete, who descended 
the Parana, and then, ascending the Paraguay, landed his 
precious charge at the city of Assumption. As his re- 
compense for many months of toil and danger, Gaete re- 
ceived one cow, which gave rise to the saying, common 
in these provinces, that a thing is as dear as Gaete's cow. 
Whether all the vast herds of South America are derived 
from this humble source, may be questioned. But however 
this be, it is certain that the cattle of Europe soon multi- 
plied amazingly, found their way to the woods and rich 
Pampas, where they increased in the state of liberty, and 
now extend in countless multitudes from the southern 
boundary of Buenos Ayres, to far within the tropics to the 
north, stretching, in many cases, from the Atlantic to the 
Cordilleras. They are found in the Brazilian as well as in 
the Spanish provinces, in the wild as well as in a domesti- 
cated state, and have extended beyond the Andes into the 
beautiful countries on the Pacific, where they are reared in 
the state of domestication. But it is in the more temperate 
parts of Paraguay, and the countries of the Rio de la Plata, 
extending westward, that their numbers have become the 
greatest, and that those marvellous herds of them are to 
be beheld, which have escaped entirely from the dominion of 
man, and fly from his presence like beasts of chase. They 
migrate in search of fresh pastures with the changes of the 
season, the strongest of the bulls assuming the guidance of 
the herd. They have deviated little from the Andalusian 
type, except that they have assumed a greater uniformity of 
colour, and that the bulls exhibit less of ferocity and bold- 
ness, as is common with other animals naturalized in Ame- 
rica. Their colour is a blackish-brown ; their size is nearly 
the same as in the original race, exceeding it in the more 
temperate countries, and falling short of it in the warmer. The 


power of the female to yield milk constantly diminishes with 
the heat of the climate, until, at the tropics, it does not 
amount to one-third of the ordinary quantity. They are 
reclaimed with such facility, that the wildest herds may be 
domesticated in a month. They are hunted for their hides 
by people of the country, or Gauchos, who pursue them on 
horseback at speed, forming two lines, meeting at an angle 
in the rear. The person who is behind at the angle or meet- 
ing of the lines, is armed with a sharp instrument, of a cres- 
cent-shape, fixed to a long handle. With this he hamstrings 
the oxen as he comes up to them, the party all the time con- 
tinuing the pursuit. When a sufficient number have been 
maimed, and left on the ground, the party returns, the prin- 
cipal hunter piercing the prostrate oxen with a spear, and 
others instantly dismounting, and stripping off the hide : the 
carcasses are left as of no value, to be devoured by vultures 
and other beasts of prey. 

Those cattle which are in a semi-domesticated state, and 
are the property of individuals, are kept in large herds. They 
are under the charge of a superintendent with several assist- 
ants, whose province it is to prevent them from straying, 
to protect them from the Jaguars, and other beasts of prey, 
and to catch those which are to be slaughtered. They are 
caught by means of the well-known Lazo, which incessant 
practice teaches those wild people to throw with match- 
less dexterity. It consists of a plaited thong of hides, forty 
or fifty feet in length, with a noose and iron-ring at one end. 
Swinging the noose end round and round with the right arm, 
the other end being coiled over the left arm, and fixed to the 
saddle girth, they throw their singular missile, themselves 
all the while at speed, and entangle the victim by the horns, 
the neck, or by one or both legs, as may be wished, and in 
an instant hurl him to the ground. One superintendent, 
with four assistants, is reckoned sufficient for the tendence of 
from 4000 to 5000 head of cattle, often extending over a 
space of eighteen square miles of country ; and this esta- 

254 THE OX. 

blishment, according to Azara, requires about 70 horses, the 
Gauchos almost living on horseback. Individual proprietors 
have often enormous herds, some, according to Spix, as many 
as 40,000 head. In Paraguay, the practice is to drive the 
cattle once a-week, or oftener, to an elevated circuit, termed 
the Rodeo ; in other cases this is only done once a-year, when 
the bulls are emasculated, generally at the age of two years, 
and the cattle branded with the owners' mark. These animals 
do not differ in appearance from those that are entirely wild. 

But, besides these wilder herds, it is common for the owners 
to keep a number of tame cattle, which are used for draught, 
or for yielding milk, which is partly made into cheese. But 
so little do the people of the country understand the making 
of butter, that the Emperor of the Brazils, in possession of 
the finest herds in the world, used to obtain the butter for 
his own use from Ireland ? after a voyage of several months. 
The flesh of these tame cattle is preferred to that of the wild. 
They are kept in enclosures during the night, and permitted 
to pasture, during the day, in the meadows and adjoining 

From these herds of cattle are derived those enormous 
supplies of skins which form the chief export of the countries 
of the Rio de la Plata and the interior. Azara informs us, 
that, in 1796, the export of hides from Buenos Ayres and 
Monte Video alone was from 800,000 to a million annually ; 
but, to form an idea of the magnitude of the continued car- 
nage of those noble herds, w T e must consider the vast and pro- 
digal consumption of the interior, where no value is set upon 
the lives of animals so bounteously supplied. They afford 
the only animal food of the settled inhabitants, who use it 
with a waste that exceeds belief, selecting the favourite parts, 
and leaving the rest in the wilderness. The animals, too, are 
killed in multitudes by the Indians, who plunder them from 
the farms, or pursue them in mere wantonness. Further, 
the mortality amongst them is excessive, from the attacks of 
wild beasts, the torments of venomous insects, which pursue 


them in clouds, and the effects of the barbarous treatment of 
their wild keepers. The time, indeed, it may be believed, 
will come when those rich and beautiful lands, so blessed by 
the bounties of Nature, so cursed by the ignorance of man, 
in place of yielding ship-loads of hides, will support an in- 
dustrious population capable of appreciating and using the 
natural gifts of their country. 

The Ox has thus found a new habitat more suitable for the 
increase of his numbers, than in the most fertile plains of 
Asia and Europe. He has also been carried to North America 
and its islands, wherever the settlements of Europeans are 
found, and equally adapts himself to these situations as 
to those which are nearer to his native climes. In the United 
States, he is cultivated with considerable care, and has the 
same useful characters communicated to him by artificial 
treatment, and the selecting of the parent stock, as in the 
countries of Europe, where attention has been paid to the 
development of his properties. 

But in the warmer regions of Eastern Asia, the Ox appears 
with such distinct form and characters, as to leave the na- 
turalist in doubt whether he ought to be regarded as a dis- 
tinct species, rather than as a variety or race. He is gene- 
rally termed the Zebu, from an Indian name ; and though he 
differs greatly in size in different localities, he presents every 
where the same general character which ancient figures shew 
him to have possessed from the earliest times. 

The Indian Ox has a flatter and more oblique forehead than 
the Ox of western Asia and Europe ; his horns are more 
straight, short, and directed backwards; his ears are very long, 
and pendent. He is furnished with a large fleshy lump upon 
the shoulders, his haunch is very round, like that of the Gayal, 
and his limbs are slender and graceful. His skin is soft, 
and he is furnished with a large dewlap hanging down in 
folds. In his general form, he approaches more to the larger 
Antelopes than the Ox of the West. 

The Zebu is found throughout the whole of Hindostan, and 

256 THE OX. 

stretches all eastward through China, to Japan, and other 
islands of the East. He gradually diminishes in numbers 
beyond the Indus to the west, and in Persia gives entire 
place to the common races. He is found, however, in Ara- 
bia, having been probably carried thither from India. An 
animal similar with respect to the possession of a dorsal 
hump, but probably of African descent, is numerous in Abys- 
sinia and Upper Egypt, extending along the eastern coasts 
of Africa to the Island of Madagascar and the country of 
the Caffres, and westwards from Abyssinia to the Niger. 

He was found in Syria before the Christian era, Aristotle 
distinctly mentioning the humped oxen of Syria. It has been 
observed as remarkable, that the Grecian sculptors gave a 
dewlap to their oxen somewhat like that of Eastern countries. 
No conclusion can be founded on this concidence, with respect 
to the existence of this race in Greece. The description and 
sculptures of the Greeks exhibit the common, and not the 
Indian form. Dewlaps are largely developed in all races of 
Oxen which approach the natural state ; and in copying the 
wilder bulls of their own country, the sculptors of Greece had 
sufficient examples of the graceful dewlap to guide them in 
their ideal representations. In the figures of the Zodiac by 
the Egyptians and Greeks, the form of the bull is always that 
of the common races, and never of the Indian animal. On the 
other hand, on the most ancient monuments of the East, as 
those of Elephanta, all the memorials of whose origin are 
hidden in the obscurity of the past, the representations of the 
Ox always exhibit the Zebu form. From the remotest anti- 
quity, therefore, the form of the Indian Zebu has remained 
unchanged. Nay, some have believed that the Zebu is the 
original type of the Ox, that the warmer regions of the East 
are the native country of the race, and that it is only as he 
is removed from these that he assumes the ordinary form. 
It is more natural to believe that the Indian Ox is distinct 
in the natural state. 

The Zebu differs greatly in size in different parts of Hin- 



dostan, and other countries of the East. Like many species, 
he dwindles towards the countries of the Pacific, so that in 
Corea and the Islands of Japan he is little larger than a 
Hog, shewing that these countries are at the limits of the 
natural habitat of the species. The finest breeds of the 
Eastern Zebu are produced in the northern provinces of 
India. There they are tall and graceful animals, surpass- 
ing in the power of active motion any of the races of Oxen 
with which we are conversant in Europe. They are used 
for the saddle, for chariots, for the bearing of burdens, for 
common draught, and all the labours of the field. They 
accompany the predatory armies of Indian nations in thou- 
sands, carrying the materials of war. They are used in state 
processions by the Princes of India. They are guided by a 
cord passed through the septum of the nose, to which are 
attached the bridle-reins, which, when not used, rest upon 
the hump of the shoulder. Their motion is easy, and they 
trot and gallop almost as freely as a horse. They have great 
powers of endurance, frequently travelling sixty or eighty 
miles a-day. When employed in chariots or the plough, they 
draw by a yoke, which rests upon the shoulder. They are 
exceedingly tractable, and become attached to their keepers. 
The milk-white colour is esteemed by the Hindoos, which it 
likewise was by the ancient Egyptians, as having a charac- 
ter of sanctity. Very often rich Hindoos dedicate a parti- 
cular bull of the sacred colour to Siva, when he is branded 
by the emblem of the god, and thenceforward becomes ex- 
empt from the contumely of servitude. He wanders where 
he will, and no one strikes, molests, or turns him from his 
path : he feeds in the gardens, the rice fields, or wherever he 
chooses to enter : he finds his way into the market-places 
of towns, and helps himself to the green herbs and choicest 
fruits, without any one driving him away. Impunity ren- 
ders him familiar : he will take food from the hand Uke a 
dog, and everywhere dainties are presented to him by simple 


258 THE OX. 

devotees. These consecrated bulls are described by English 
residents as absolute pests in the villages of India, thrust- 
ing their noses into the stalls of fruiterers and pastry-cooks, 
robbing the peasants of their little treasure, and helping 
themselves to whatever they please. The reverence, how- 
ever, paid to the Bull and the Cow is not extended to the 
emasculated Ox, who is treated with the utmost harshness, 
under the solitary exception of obedience to the law common 
to the Hindoos and Jews, of not muzzling the Ox when he 
treadeth out the corn. 

Examples of the larger as well as smaller races of these 
animals have been frequently brought to England, and they 
have been made to cross the common breeds of the country. 
The mixed offspring are fruitful with one another, and the 
characteristic hump disappears with the first cross. In the 
year 1832, a bull and cow of the finer breed were exhibited 
at the Christmas Smithfield Show in London, under the name 
of Nagpore cattle. The following account of them, derived 
from Mr Perkins, to whom they belong, is given by Mr 
Youatt, in his valuable Treatise on Cattle, contained in the 
Library of Useful Knowledge. 

" They were bred by Lieutenant-Colonel Skinner, at his 
farm at Danah, near Pokah, on the borders of the Bichaneer 
desert, 100 miles to the westward of Delhi. They are not 
Buffaloes, but of the highest breed of Indian cattle. They 
are used in India by the higher orders to draw their state- 
carriages, and are much valued for their size, speed, and en- 
durance, and sell at very high prices. These specimens 
arrived at Calcutta, a distance of 1400 miles, in January 
1829, and were then something under six months old. They 
were sent as a present to Mr Wood, who was then residing 
at Calcutta, and by whom they were presented to Mr Perkins. 
Colonel Skinner has a large stock of them, and six or seven 
beasts are always kept saddled to carry the military dis- 
patches. They remain saddled three or four hours, and if 
not wanted in that time, fresh ones are brought to relieve 


their companions. They will travel with a soldier on their 
back fifteen or sixteen hours a-day, at the rate of six miles 
an hour. Their action is particularly fine, nothing like that 
of the English cattle, with the sideway circular action of 
their hind-legs ; the Nagpore cattle bring their hind-legs 
under them in as straight a line as the Horse. They are 
very active, and can clear a five-barred gate with the greatest 
ease. Mr Perkins has a calf which has leaped over an iron 
fence higher than any five-barred gate ; and the bull fre- 
quently jumps over the same fence in order to get at the 
water, and, when he has drunk his fill, leaps back again. 
The bull was in high condition when exhibited. He is em- 
ployed in a light cart in various jobs about the farm. Some- 
times he goes fore-horse in the waggon-team to deliver corn ; 
he also drags the bush-harrow, and draws the light roller 
over the ploughed land. He is very docile and tractable 
when one man drives him and attends upon him, but he has 
now and then shewn symptoms of dislike to others. He is 
fed entirely on hay, except that, when he works, a little bran 
is given to him, and in the turnip season, he is treated occa- 
sionally with a few slices of Swedes, of which he is very fond. 
He was at first very troublesome to shoe, and it was neces- 
sary to erect a break in order to confine him. He was un- 
willing to go into it for some time, but now walks in it very 
contentedly. He is very fond of being noticed ; and often, 
when he is lying down, if any one to whom he is accustomed 
goes and sits down upon him and strokes him over the face, 
he will turn round and put his head on their lap, and lie there 
contentedly as long as they please. The cow is at grass with 
the milch cows, and comes up with them morning and even- 
ing, when they are driven to be milked." 

But the Ox extends to another division of the globe, 
where we may expect him to exhibit modifications dependent 
on the peculiar conditions under which he is placed, and 
which exert so great an influence on the development of 
animal forms. But a vast part of the African continent is 

260 THE OX. 

yet untrodden by the feet of naturalists, and we are left 
to draw our knowledge of its animals from the uncertain 
notices of travellers, often too much occupied with the dan- 
gers around them, to be able to afford us the details required. 
We know, however, that the Ox, under various modifications, 
abounds throughout those vast countries, is everywhere sub- 
jected to servitude, affords milk and flesh to the inhabitants, 
and assists them in their rude labours ; but of the species or 
races, our knowledge is in a high degree imperfect. So far 
as we know, the common Ox prevails along all the countries 
on the Mediterranean, and a part of the shores of the Atlan- 
tic ; but how much it occupies of the interior, travellers, the 
most observant, have failed to inform us. The same form 
appears in Southern Africa, in the races which are cultivated 
by the Hottentots, the Caffres, and other tribes stretching to 
the deserts of the interior. The oxen of these races are of 
small size, like those of the mountainous parts of Europe, 
and are possessed of great activity and power of endurance. 
But, in Africa, the Ox likewise presents itself under a dif- 
ferent form, having the large hump of the Indian Zebu, but 
being distinguished from the latter animal by large, light, 
and spreading horns. This race appears in Abyssinia, 
whence it extends down the Nile to the tropic of Cancer, and 
perhaps beyond it, westward through the unexplored regions 
of the countries of the Negroes to the Niger, and southward 
again through 40 of latitude to the country of the Caffres. 
It thus seems to extend over nearly all the burning regions 
of the continent, and it is difficult to believe that an animal 
so diffused is not indigenous to the country which produces 
it. It may be conjectured, indeed, that the African is merely 
the Asiatic Zebu, transported from the East to Western 
Africa. Though we have nothing to invalidate this opinion, 
it certainly seems to be a very violent hypothesis; and a 
more natural supposition is, that an animal occupying all 
the intertropical regions of Africa, is as proper to the country 
itself as the Zebu of India is to the countries of the East. 


Unfortunately, the accounts of travellers are not sufficiently 
precise to enable us to compare the Indian with the African 
Ox ; and it is doubtful if a single specimen of the Humped 
Ox of Africa has been brought to Europe. 

Bruce, on entering Abyssinia by the mountain of Taranto, 
describes the bulls and cows as of exquisite beauty, as being 
completely white, with large dewlaps hanging down to the 
knees, with horns and hoofs completely well turned, with 
the horns wide, and the hair like silk. In another place, 
he informs us that, in the fertile and populous province of 
Woggora, the oxen have large and beautiful horns, exceed- 
ingly wide, and that they have bosses on their backs like 
camels. Other writers agree as to the great size of the horns 
of the humped cattle of Africa. Captain Clapperton describes 
the race of Bornon, likewise humped, in the very heart of the 
continent, as being of a white colour and large size, and as 
having horns, very light, of three feet seven inches in length, 
measured along the curve. We cannot say, indeed, that the 
mere tendency to a large development of horn constitutes a 
specific distinction ; but as this is a character which remark- 
ably distinguishes the humped cattle of Africa from those of 
India, it furnishes a reasonable ground for believing that the 
humped cattle of Africa have characters proper to themselves, 
and are as much an original race as the Zebus of India. 

The accumulation of fatty matter on the shoulder of the 
Ox, may not unreasonably be regarded as a natural provision 
for fitting him for countries of intense heat. The cultivated 
Ox of England accumulates fat largely within the body ; but 
this might not consist with the exercise of the animal func- 
tions in a climate of high temperature ; and, therefore, the 
fatty secretion may be placed externally on a particular part 
of the body. In certain races of sheep in Africa the same 
tendency is observed, lumps of fatty matter appearing be- 
neath the skin, on the shoulders and head, and in other races, 
as has been shewn in another place, on the tail, which be- 
comes of an enormous magnitude. The hump of the Camel 

262 THE OX. 

seems to be a similar provision for the accumulation of nutri- 
ent matter, and may be supposed to be connected with the 
extraordinary patience under abstinence from food, which 
distinguishes this child of the desert. The fatty hump of the 
Ox of warmer countries, may thus be regarded as an adapta- 
tion of the animal to the condition in which it is placed. 

Another provision for fitting the Ox of warmer countries 
to the circumstances of his situation, is the possession of a 
light, sinewy, and active form. The heavy Ox of the plains 
of Holland and England, could not subsist in the arid climate, 
and on the scanty herbage, of the African desert. Hence we 
find the Oxen of Africa of less bulk of body, and more agile 
in their motions, than those in the temperate countries of 
abundant herbage. All over Africa, these animals are em- 
ployed in laborious journeys, and for the bearing of heavy 
loads. Their appearance and employment in these arid coun- 
tries are thus described by a recent traveller : 

" The bullock is the bearer of all the grain and other 
articles to and from the markets. A small saddle of plaited 
rushes is laid upon him, when sacks made of goat-skins, and 
filled with corn, are lashed on his broad and able back. A 
leather thong is passed through the cartilage of his nose, 
and serves as a bridle, while on the top of the load is mount- 
ed the owner, his wife, or his slave. Sometimes the daughter 
or the wife of a rich shouaa will be mounted on her particu- 
lar bullock, and precede the loaded animals, extravagantly 
adorned with amber, silver, rings, coral, and all sorts of 
finery 3 her hair streaming with fat, a black ring of kohol, at 
least an inch wide, round her eyes, and, I may say, arrayed 
for conquest at the crowded market. Carpets or tobes are 
then spread on her clumsy palfrey ; she sit&jambe de$d,jambe 
deld, and, with considerable grace, guides her animal by the 
nose. Notwithstanding the peaceableness of his nature, her 
vanity still enables her to torture him into something like 
caperings and curvettings."* 

* Travels in Africa, by Major Denham and Captain Clapperton. 


In the country of the Cape, the value of the agile form and 
powers of endurance of the African Ox, are shewn in the ser- 
vices he performs. These oxen are used for carrying bur- 
dens, in the manner of mules and pack-horses in other coun- 
tries. A traveller, describing this employment, observes : 
" We proceeded nearly the whole way at a brisk step, some- 
times trotting, and at other times galloping, while the three 
bushmen, who drove the pack-oxen on before us, hurried 
them over the rocky ground at so extraordinary a rate, that, 
even on horseback, I found it not easy to keep up with them ; 
and often, when the surface was so thickly covered with 
stones and large fragments of rock, that my horse could 
scarcely find where to place his foot, I was obliged to call 
out to them to slacken their pace."* 

These oxen are likewise trained to the saddle. They are 
broken in, we are told, when they are about a year old. A 
slit being made in the cartilage between the nostrils, large 
enough to admit the finger, a strong stick, stripped of its 
bark, is passed through, and to each end of it is fixed a thong 
of hide, of length sufficient to reach round the neck, and serve 
as reins. The saddle is formed of sheep-skins with the wool 
on, and the stirrups consist of a thong across the saddle, with 
loops for the feet. While the animal's nose is still sore, he is 
mounted and put in training, and, in a week or two, is gene- 
rally rendered sufficiently obedient to the rider. " The faci- 
lity and adroitness," says Mr Burchell, " with which the Hot- 
tentots manage the Ox, has often excited my admiration. It 
is made to walk, trot, or gallop, at the will of its master ; 
and being longer legged, and rather more lightly made than 
the Ox in England, travels with greater ease and expedition, 
walking three or four miles in an hour, trotting five, and 
galloping, on an average, seven or eight." These oxen are 
likewise used in the drawing of those covered waggons which 
the Dutch settlers have introduced, and with which they 
transport their merchandise, and perform their long journeys 

* BurchelPs Travels in Africa. 

264 THE OX. 

from the interior. These waggons, though now much smaller 
than those used by the earlier boors, are still very weighty 
vehicles, drawn by teams of ten or twelve oxen. They are 
usually driven by a Hottentot, who manages his enormous 
team with perfect skill, and without the aid of reins. He 
sits behind, holding in his hand a tremendous whip of plaited 
thong, the handle of which is twelve or fourteen feet in 
length. He uses it with ease, cracking it loudly over the 
heads of the animals, and, when necessary, hitting an offend- 
ing bullock : but his chief instrument of guidance is the 
voice : he speaks to the animals by name, directing them to 
the right or left, to stop or to quicken their pace, and enforc- 
ing his commands, when necessary, by the stroke of his ter- 
rible lash. When the team is large, a boy, usually a Hot- 
tentot, leads the foremost oxen by a thong fastened about 
their horns. 

But to turn from the Oxen of distant countries to those 
whose economical uses are so important to the civilized na- 
tions of Europe, we find that the animals, though agreeing 
in certain common characters, yet very greatly differ in their 
temperament, form, and uses, with the physical condition of 
the countries in which they are reared, and the artificial treat- 
ment to which they are subjected. It is upon the supplies of 
food that the size of the animals seems mainly to depend. 
Wherever food is supplied in abundance, the Ox becomes 
enlarged in bulk ; and wherever food is deficient, whatever be 
the nature of the climate, his size becomes less. The Ox of 
Barbary is as diminutive as that of the Highlands of Scot- 
land, because the grasses, his natural food, are burned up 
during a great part of the year, leaving plants for him to 
subsist upon as innutritious as the heaths of the northern 
mountains. But where the grasses abound, and where the 
heat of the climate is not sufficiently great to wither them 
up during a great part of the year, the Ox assumes an entirely 
different character with respect to magnitude and strength. 
The largest Oxen in Europe are to be found extending west- 


ward by the Ukraine, and the rich valley of the Danube, 
through Hungary, the more fertile parts of Germany, part of 
Denmark, Holland, and to England. In the richer parts 
of other countries on either side of this tract, as in the Ma- 
remma of Italy, and the finer valleys of Switzerland, and in 
certain parts of Spain and France, are also to be found large 
Oxen, the size of the animals always being in proportion to 
the natural fertility of the pastures. Art, indeed, by sup- 
plying cultivated food, can remedy the effects^ of natural 
scarcity ; but, in a general sense, we find that always the 
larger breeds are formed in countries of abundant herbage. 

The British Islands present, in the productiveness of the 
soil, such extremes of fertility and barrenness, as enable us 
to mark the constancy of this law in a greater degree perhaps 
than in any other country of the same extent. Over the more 
elevated parts of the country, where the heaths, carices, and 
innutritious junci, form the principal part of the herbage, the 
Oxen are of small stature : as the grasses and leguminous 
herbage plants become mixed with the others, the size of the 
Oxen becomes enlarged, and still more when artificial food is 
added to the natural ; and in the richest plains of all, where 
the natural productions of the soil, and the resources of con- 
tinued cultivation, are combined, the animals acquire their 
greatest development of form. The Ox of the Sutherland 
mountains, and the Ox of the Yorkshire vales, present to the 
eye a diversity of size and aspect, such as we might hold in 
other cases to distinguish species; but these extremes are con- 
nected by all the intervening gradations from the smallest to 
the largest. Looking to bulk of body as a character, we may be 
said to possess two general classes of breeds in this country ; 
first, those which are proper to the more mountainous and less 
fertile districts ; and, secondly, those which are proper to 
the plains and richer country. The first class comprehends 
the breeds of Wales, of the mountains of Scotland, and of the 
high lands of Ireland, as the Pembroke, the West Highland, 
the Kerry ; the second comprehends the Long-horned breed 

266 THE OX. 

and its varieties, the highly cultivated breed of Short-horns, 
and the Hereford : and, again, there is a class of breeds in- 
termediate between the smaller breeds of the mountains and 
the larger races of the plains, as the Galloway, the Angus, 
and the beautiful breed of Nouth Devon. 

But, besides the effects of the natural and acquired fertility 
of districts in modifying the form and characters of these 
animals, so as to form varieties, art and a fitting selection of 
the breeding parents exercise an influence scarcely less im- 
portant. Experience shews that the characters of the Ox, as 
of all animals subjected to domestication, are communicated 
with surprising constancy to the young, and become perma- 
nent by reproduction between similar individuals. Not only 
are the properties of form so transmitted, but those pecu- 
liarities of temperament which render the animals fitted to 
particular uses, as for the exertion of strength in the yoke, 
for the secretion of fat, or the production of milk. Besides, 
then, the characters of breeds which are the result of natural 
causes, there is a class of characters the result of breeding 
and artificial treatment. Some of the finest of the breeds of 
England may be termed artificial, with relation to the means 
employed to give them their distinctive characters : such was 
the variety of the Long-horned breed formed by Bakewell, 
such is the modern Durham improved by Colling, and such is 
the highly esteemed breed of Hereford, perfected by Tomkins. 
These breeds, the finest in the world with respect to their 
economical uses, although bearing an affinity to the parent 
stocks from which they were derived, have had those peculiar 
properties which fit them for the uses for which they are de- 
signed mainly communicated by the art of the breeder. 

Of the properties which artificial breeding is employed to 
call forth, that which holds the first place in this country is, 
an early maturity of the animal, and a tendency to the secre- 
tion of fat. But the production of milk is likewise important, 
and particular breeds are valued for the faculty of yielding 
this substance in abundance. Before describing the various 


breeds of the country in detail, it will be well to direct at- 
tention to the subject of Milk and its products, as connected 
with the economical value of breeds, and, in certain cases, 
serving to distinguish them. 


MILK is the liquid food derived from the blood of mam- 
miferous animals for the nourishment of their young. It is 
secreted in glandular sacs termed mammae, the number and 
disposition of which vary in different tribes of animals. Some- 
times they consist of a single pair, as in the female of the 
Horse, the Sheep, the Goat ; sometimes of more than one 
pair connected together, as in the Cow ; and sometimes of 
several pairs, extending along the lower part of the abdomen, 
as in the Hog, the Dog, the Cat. These organs are filled 
with innumerable glandular lobes, from the size of a millet- 
seed upwards, through which the blood, circulating in myriads 
of vessels finer than the finest hair, gives off the milky secre- 
tion. From these lobes proceed little ducts or tubes, which, 
gradually uniting, form larger ducts, and then reservoirs or 
sinuses, which communicate with the papillae or nipples. The 
milk is secreted at the birth of the young, and continues to 
be supplied for a longer or shorter period, according to its 
wants. It differs somewhat in its composition in different 
species ; but in all of them it is a whitish liquid, opaque, and 
of a slightly saccharine taste. It consists essentially of wa- 
ter, holding in solution and suspension various substances, 
some of which can be readily separated from the rest. Of 
these the principal are, 1. An oily substance, which, from its 
less density, rises to the surface, and, being agitated, forms 
butter ; 2. An albuminous matter, which, by the action of 
certain substances, coagulates, and forms curd or cheese ; 
and, 3. A species of sugar, which can likewise be obtained 
separately from the other constituents. 

268 THE OX. 

Man, deriving his first nourishment from the breast of his 
parent, must, in every age, have been taught by his reason 
to apply to his uses the milk of his flocks and herds. From 
the earliest times, accordingly, we read of the milk of Goats, 
and Sheep, and Kine, as being the food of our species, either 
in its natural state, or separated into those bland and nutri- 
tive substances which, by the easiest arts, can be derived 
from it. When Abraham sat at the opening of his tent, in 
the heat of the day, in the plains of Mamre, " He lift up his 
eyes, and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him : and, when 
he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent-door, and 
bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My Lord, if now 
I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, 
from thy servant. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, 
and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree : and 
I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts ; 
after that ye shall pass on ; for therefore are ye come to your 
servant. And they said, So do as thou hast said. And 
Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make 
ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make 
cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, 
and fetched a calf, tender and good, and gave it unto a young 
man ; and he hasted to dress it. And he took Butter and 
Milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before 
them ; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did 
eat." The scene, apart from the mission of the heavenly 
guests, might represent the hospitality of the wandering 
Syrians at the present hour : and all over the East, from 
Aleppo to the Ganges, the milk of flocks and herds supplies 
to the inhabitants a mild and grateful food. 

The earliest writers of Greece and Rome speak of cheese 
and milk as a food familiar to every one. In the fatal cave 
of the Cyclops, Ulysses finds the milk of Goats and Sheep 
stored in baskets of osier, the shelves bending under loads 
of cheeses ; and innumerable other allusions to this early 
food of mankind are scattered through the writings of the 


poets, philosophers, and historians of Greece. But the Greeks, 
living in the country of the olive, made no use of butter, 
and became only acquainted with it from those whom, in the 
arrogance of their hearts, they chose to style barbarians. 
Aristotle says of milk, that it consists of two parts, the 
cheesy and the watery ; and it is only in another place that 
he refers, incidentally as it were, to the oily matter which 
rises to the surface. Hippocrates, who wrote in the fifth 
century before Christ, speaking of the Scythians, says, that 
they poured the milk of their mares into wooden vessels, 
and agitated it violently, which caused the fat part, which 
was light, to rise to the surface, becoming what they call 
butter; and Herodotus, who was contemporary with him, 
mentions, that they placed the milk in deep wooden vessels, 
and caused it to be agitated by their slaves. Both writers 
manifestly speak of something which was new to their own 
customs ; and, for many centuries afterwards, we know that 
the Greeks made use of cheese and oil, but not of butter. 
Dioscorides, who wrote thirty-one years before Christ, seems 
to have been the first of the Greeks who suggested to his 
countrymen that this food of the barbarians might be used 
for diet. He says, that it might be melted, and poured 
over pulse and other vegetables, instead of oil ; but ages 
elapsed before the Greeks adopted the customs, in this re- 
spect, of the nations they despised. 

The Romans, in like manner, although they made large 
use of cheese, were ignorant of the use of butter, until they 
had extended their conquests among the Gauls, Germans, 
and Britons ; and it was not until the age of the empire, 
that they began to make use of it as an ointment in their 
baths, and ultimately as food. They lived in the land of the 
olive and the vine ; and their rustic writers, while they treat 
largely of milk, cheese, and oil, say nothing of the prepara- 
tion of butter. On the other hand, we learn, from many of 
their writers, that it was familiar to the Gothic and Celtic 
nations of Northern Europe. Pliny affirms that the barbar- 

270 THE ox. 

ous nations made not only cheese but butter, which they 
used as an agreeable food. He says, that they made it from 
the milk of the Goat, the Sheep, and the Cow ; but most 
commonly from that of the Cow, although the milk of the 
Ewe produced the fattest butter. He describes the form of 
the vessel employed in making it, which seems to have been 
similar to that now in use. The northern nations were like- 
wise acquainted with the use of cheese, although some of the 
Roman writers declare that they knew not how to prepare 
it, which can only mean, that they did not do so after the 
Roman fashion ; for Pliny himself, who denies this know- 
ledge to the Germans, describes their manner of making 
cheese, by rendering the milk sour, and pressing the whey 
from the curd. Caesar says of the same people, that the 
greater part of their food consisted of milk, cheese, and flesh. 
Strabo confirms the testimony of Caesar ; and Tacitus states 
that the food of the Germans was of the simplest kind, 
namely, wild fruits, game recently killed, or concrete milk, 
which must mean milk rendered concrete by curdling it. Of 
the Britons, Caesar observes, that those of the interior, for 
the most part, did not sow corn, but lived on milk and flesh. 
And Strabo states, that some of them, though they had abun- 
dance of milk, were so ignorant as not to know how to make 
cheese. But if some of them only were thus ignorant, the 
rest must have possessed the knowledge ; and we learn, 
from other sources, that the Celtse of the wilds of Britain, 
where the Roman arms never reached, were familiar with 
this early food of the people of the East. They had learned 
to prepare it, it may be believed, before Romulus drew milk 
from the teats of his Wolf, or before the city of the Seven 
Hills had a name, 

All the ruminating animals subjected to domestication are 
capable of yielding milk to their protectors ; and all the mem- 
bers of the great Western, and even the Negro, family of man- 
kind, make use of it as food. It is obtained from the domestic 
Cow, the Asiatic and African Zebu, the Buffalo, the Yak, the 


Camel, the Goat, the Sheep, the Rein-deer. It is yielded 
likewise by the Mare and the Ass. The milk of the rumi- 
nating tribes is the richest in cream and cheese, and that of 
the Equine family is the most abundant in saccharine prin- 
ciples, and approaches nearest to that of the human species. 
The milk of Mares is used by the Kalmuks and other East- 
ern Asiatics. The Chinese, who are of the same family of 
mankind, make scarcely any use of milk as food ; and the Red 
Men of America, who are the nearest connected by their phy- 
siological characters with the Eastern Asiatics, manifest the 
like indifference to it ; and, until the present hour, have not 
learned to tame the milk-bearing animals of their country, the 
Rein -deer and the Musk Ox of their regions of snow, and 
the Bisons of their rich savannahs and boundless forests. 
Passing from Eastern Asia into its innumerable islands, we 
find that milk is scarcely at all used by the inhabitants. To 
the savage tribes of Borneo, New Guinea, and New Holland, 
this salutary food is unknown. 

Of all the ruminating animals, the Cow is that which 
yields her milk the most freely, and in the largest quantity. 
This animal possesses two pairs of mammse united together, 
forming a large udder, whereas the Sheep, the Goat, and the 
Deer, possess only one pair. She gives her milk beyond the 
period of maternal solicitude, and in quantity far more than 
suffices to nourish her own offspring. Her milk holds a 
middle place between that of the Ovine family and the Equine, 
with respect to the production of cheese, butter, and sugar, 
and it is more agreeable to the taste than any other. The 
milk of the Buffalo is more watery than that of the Cow, 
and the cream and butter are colourless. The milk of the 
Yak is rich, but, like that of the other Bisons, has the odour 
of musk. 

The Camel, inhabiting the vast deserts of Asia, and ex- 
tending over a part of Africa, yields milk which may be used 
as food. There are two species, the Bactrian Camel, having 
two large protuberances on the back, being adapted for the 

272 THE ox. 

colder deserts, and extending from the Caspian Sea eastward 
through Central Asia to the Indian Ocean ; and the Arabian 
Camel, having one protuberance only, and being fitted for 
warmer climates and more steril deserts. The female of the 
former species is little used for yielding milk, because, in 
the countries which she inhabits, other animals better suited 
to that end are found. Nevertheless, her milk is sometimes 
used by the Eastern nations to produce, by fermentation, an 
inebriating liquor. The other species of Camel is the trea- 
sure of the wandering Arabs, and has so long been subjected 
to domestication, that not a trace of it has been found in the 
wild state. The conformation and habits of this animal are 
suited to its condition. Its broad cleft hoof, covered with a 
callous skin, does not sink in the sand, and suits itself 
readily to the sharp stones and pebbles with which the sur- 
face may be covered. It bears thirst and hunger better than 
any known creature : it feeds on the withered herbage, the 
thorny shrubs, and bitter plants of the desert, and can take 
into its stomach a supply of food for the wants of a long 
journey. In its stomach is developed a series of deep cells 
for containing water ; and when the Arabs, on their distant 
journeys, and in danger of perishing from thirst, are com- 
pelled to kill their faithful Camel, its store of water is pro- 
cured as pure and wholesome as from a fountain. The milk 
of the female is made use of by the people as food ; it is 
serous, and nauseous in taste to the stranger, but to the 
Arab it proves a resource beyond all price in the burning 
wilds which he inhabits. 

The Goat, we have seen, is spread over all the old conti- 
nent, and many of its islands. The female yields milk in 
considerable abundance, and nearly as freely as the Cow her- 
self ; and she readily submits to be the fosternurse of other 
animals, and treats her adopted offspring with affection. Her 
milk is thick, more abounding in cheese than that of the 
Cow, and plentiful in cream. It has a peculiar taste and 
odour, to which use reconciles those who feed on it, and it is 


eminently nourishing and salubrious. The butter which it 
yields is of a firm consistence, and nearly as white as snow. 
The cheese has a strong and peculiar flavour, not ungrateful 
to those who are accustomed to it. It is produced in all the 
parts of Europe where the Goat is reared, and largely in the 
Levant, Italy, Spain, and other countries of the Mediter- 

The Ewe yields milk, but not so abundantly, freely, or for 
so long a period, as the Goat. It is the most productive of 
cream of any kind of milk ; but the butter which it yields is 
of a soft consistence, leaving a fatty impression, like tallow, 
in the mouth. The cheese has a strong stimulating flavour, 
which increases with age. It is largely produced in some of 
the more mountainous parts of Europe, furnishing a food 
grateful to the people of the countries that produce it, but 
far inferior in general estimation to the cheese of the Cow. 

At the limits, and beyond them, of the region of the 
Goat and the Sheep, exists a creature, fitted by a boun- 
teous Providence to subsist on the herbs of the arctic zone, 
and yield its milk for human support, in lands of ice and snow. 
The Reindeer inhabits the glacial regions of Europe and 
Asia, migrating along the snowy mountains of the interior, 
almost to the line of the Caucasus. In America, too, it i? 
found, but with characters proper to that continent; and 
there it is the subject of persecution by savage hunters, who 
seem incapable of rising even to the pastoral state. But, in 
Europe, the Reindeer has been reduced to servitude by a 
race of men seemingly placed beyond the limits of humanized 
society, but possessed of arts which tribes of barbarous hun- 
ters do not acquire. The Laplanders, in scanty numbers, 
are spread over the extreme north of Europe, occupying a 
country of 300 miles by 500 on the Arctic Ocean. Distinct 
in aspect, character, and speech, from the Scandinavian 
people in contact with them, their swarthy colour, their 
dark eyes, and black hair, indicate a southern origin ; and 
their simple and expressive language exhibits a striking 

274 THE ox. 

affinity with those of the countries of the East. They are a 
remnant, it may be believed, of ancient settlers in Europe, 
driven by stronger enemies into regions of almost perpetual 
winter. They have tamed the Wild Deer of their country, 
and rendered it a substitute for the Sheep, the Ox, nay, for 
the Horse, of happier climes. They derive from it milk, and 
know how to fabricate butter and cheese. They separate 
the butter by agitating the milk with their hands, and em- 
ploy herbs to coagulate the curd. They prepare, from the 
milk, many simple delicacies, which they use with the wild 
fruits of their brief summer. In the season of their dreary 
winter, the milk of the Doe freezes as soon as it is drawn 
from the teats, and in this state it is preserved, to be thawed 
when required for use. The Doe yields about the same 
quantity of milk as the Goat, and it is rich in caseous matter. 
Some of the wealthier Laplanders have as many as a thou- 
sand head of those fleet and powerful Deers : the less affluent 
have herds of 300 or less. 

The milk of the Mare is used "only in those boundless 
plains of Central Asia, where the Horse can be reared in 
numerous herds. It contains a larger proportion of sugar 
than that of the ruminating quadrupeds, but less of caseine, 
or the matter of cheese, and oil. It yields curd, but the 
cream is in small quantity. From the abundance of the 
saccharine principle, it readily undergoes the vinous fermen- 
tation, and the wandering tribes have long learned to con- 
vert it into a fermented liquor, which they use in excess. 
They have even attained the art of separating the alcohol by 
distillation, long, it is probable, before the alchymists of the 
West had discovered the Aqua Vitas which they fancied was 
to confer upon them immortality. The Western Tartars 
still use the milk of their mares ; but, from the diminished 
number of Horses, in less quantity than in former ages ; for 
these tribes, now controlled by the powerful sway of a vigo- 
rous government, have become less predatory, and cultivate 
the ruminating animals more than the Horse. But the Kal- 


muks, and other Eastern Asiatics, still make considerable 
use of the milk of their numerous Mares. 

The milk of the Ass possesses nearly the same properties 
as that of the Mare, but it contains still less of oil and 
the matter of cheese. It has been used from early times as 
a medicament. It is sweet and wholesome, and, from the 
small quantity of oil which it contains, it is the most easily 
assimilated by the digestive organs of any kind of milk. The 
butter which may be obtained from it by long agitation, is 
soft and insipid, and possesses the property of mixing again 
with the whey. 

Milk, like all the secretions of the animal body, is a very 
compound substance. It consists of about 90 per cent, of 
water, holding in solution and suspension the substances 
which enter into its composition. These are, 1st, The matter 
of butter, diffused in myriads of globules throughout the 
fluid ; 2d, Caseine, or the matter of cheese, which is held 
partly in solution, and partly in suspension ; 3d, Lactine,-or 
the sugar of milk ; kth, An animal extract, like that yielded 
by flesh, various soluble salts, and, in some cases, a quantity 
of free acid. 

When milk is suffered to remain at rest, it separates 
slowly into two parts. The lighter globules of oil rise to 
the surface, carrying with them a portion of the caseous 
matter and serum, and forming the unctuous coat termed 
cream. The rising of the cream is favoured by employing 
shallow vessels, and the separation continues for twenty-four 
hours or more, according to the kind of milk, and the tem- 
perature of the air. The entire oil does not separate, but a 
portion of it remains suspended in the liquid. When the 
cream is removed, the remaining liquid is still opaque, is of 
a bluish-white colour, and has had its density increased by 
the removal of the lighter globules. This substance, in com- 
mon language termed Skimmilk, is perfectly nutritive, con- 
taining nearly all the caseous and saccharine principles, with 
a certain portion of the butyraceous. 

276 THE ox. 

When cream is agitated for a time, or when the entire 
milk, without separation of the cream, is agitated, the buty- 
raceous globules collect and adhere together, forming a soft 
solid, which is Butter, and which floats in the liquid. The 
separation of the butter, which takes place suddenly, is per- 
formed by the familiar process of churning, and in certain 
countries by agitating the milk in bags of hide or leather. 
What remains after the separation of the butter is termed 
Buttermilk. Buttermilk is therefore merely milk deprived 
of its butter, and still contains the caseous and other con- 

Butter thus obtained has the properties of an expressed 
oil, and fuses at about the temperature of the human body. 
It is a very compound substance, being resolvable into various 
animal fats and acids ; and, further, it is not obtained pure 
by the mechanical means employed to separate it, but retains 
a portion of caseine, serum, and the soluble matter of the 
milk. When exposed to the air, it speedily undergoes a 
change, and becomes rancid. To preserve it from decompo- 
sition, it is mixed with v salt and other substances. The 
people of the warmer countries of the East subject it to 
fusion, by which means the extraneous matters are sepa- 
rated. It is then termed Ghee, in which state it is used by 
the Hindoos and other Asiatics. The Arabs consume it in 
enormous quantities. Burckhardt informs us, that it is a 
common practice among all classes to drink every morning 
a coffee-cupful of ghee. The taste for it is universal, and 
the poorest persons will expend half their daily income, in 
order that they may enjoy their melted butter in the morn- 
ing and at noon. Large quantities of this substance, accord- 
ingly, are yearly shipped for Arabia from Abyssinia and 

The butter of milk, it has been seen, is separated by 
means purely mechanical ; the caseous or cheesy portion is 
obtained by causing the albuminous matter of the milk to co- 
here or coagulate. When milk, with or without separation 


of its cream, is kept for a time, the caseous matter diffused 
through it, or dissolved in it, coagulates and forms curd. 
This coagulum envelopes the parts which still remain liquid, 
and renders the whole of a gelatinous consistence. By 
pressure, and breaking the coagulum, the greater part of the 
liquid readily separates, and the curd, being compressed, 
forms cheese. But the process of coagulation may be has- 
tened by the mixture of various substances. All the acids 
possess the property of coagulating milk, even at common 
temperatures, and more readily when assisted by heat. Even 
alcohol, gum, sugar, and soluble neutral salts, produce the 
formation of curd. Certain vegetable principles, as tannin, 
and the juices of numerous plants, likewise coagulate milk, 
as an infusion of the stems or leaves of sorrel, of butterwort, 
of ladies' bedstraw, of the flowers of the artichoke, and of 
the roots of the marsh-marigold. But the substance the 
most approved of for producing coagulation is runnet, whic 
is prepared by macerating the stomach of a sucking animal 
in water, so as to extract the gastric juice, of which a very 
minute quantity, contained in the infusion, suffices to coagu- 
late a large quantity of milk. As acids promote the coagu- 
lation of milk, so the alkalies prevent it, by rendering the 
caseous matter soluble. When, therefore, soda, potassa, or 
ammonia, exists in milk, coagulation will not take place 
until the alkalies are neutralized by the addition of acids, or 
by their spontaneous formation in the milk. 

After the curd has been formed, either by the slow forma- 
tion of acids in the milk, or by the addition of coagulating 
media, the curd is broken, and the liquid which it envelopes 
is separated by pressure. The expressed liquid is Whey ; 
and whey, therefore, is merely milk deprived of its cheesy 
matter. Whey accordingly contains butter, in so far as the 
cream has not been separated, and butter, therefore, may be 
derived from whey. It contains likewise the sugar of milk, 
which may be obtained separately, in the crystalline form, 
by evaporation ; and, in certain parts of Europe, the sugar 

278 THE ox. 

of milk is prepared on the large scale, and forms the subject 
of commerce. Whey is sometimes used as human food, but 
more generally for feeding the animals of the farm. It 
quickly becomes acid, and yields vinegar ; it passes likewise 
through the vinous fermentation, in which state it has an in- 
toxicating effect. 

Cheese, as formed by the common methods, is a mixture of 
the caseous with the oily matter of milk, to which it owes its 
richness. When the cream, therefore, is separated from the 
milk before coagulation, the cheese contains less of oil, and 
is of inferior estimation. When newly made, cheese is soft, 
gelatinous, and mild, but after a time it undergoes a chemi- 
cal change, and becomes strong- seen ted and stimulating. It 
produces certain fungi, termed mould, and becomes the abode 
of innumerable larvae, derived from the eggs of two insects, 
the one a species of bug, the other a kind of fiy. It is when 
in a state of decomposition, and inhabited by these disgust- 
ing creatures, that it is the most valued as a stimulant to 
the appetite. 

Milk then, it is seen, may be separated by easy means into 
four parts : 1st, into Butter, which is obtained by simple 
agitation, either of the entire milk, or of the cream separated 
from the milk ; 2d, into Buttermilk, which is obtained by 
separating the butter ; 3d, into Cheese, which is produced by 
coagulation either of the whole milk, or of the milk after se- 
paration of the cream ; and, 4M, into the liquid residue, or 
Whey. The means of obtaining these several products are 
so easy, that it is not surprising that they should have been 
known from the earliest times, and practised by the rudest 
people. In the more advanced stages of rural economy, the 
art of the dairy is reduced to principles, and merits the highest 
attention as a branch of public industry and domestic economy. 

The Cow goes with young about nine months, but with 
great inequality of time beyond this period, dependent on 
temperament, food, and treatment. The lacteal secretion is 
observed previous to the birth, but only takes place in quan- 


tity when the young is born, though in a few rare instances, 
heifers, without contact with the male, have been known to 
produce milk ; arid the same curious anomaly has been ob- 
served in the case of young mares. For a few days after the 
birth, the milk, then termed Colostrum, is viscid, and of a 
deep yellow colour, and tends more readily than other milk 
to undergo decomposition, and yields butter with difficulty. 
The colostrum should not, therefore, be mixed with the other 
milk of the dairy, but be given to the new-born calf. The 
milk, in a few days after the birth, assumes its usual proper- 
ties, and for about ninety days is yielded abundantly, and 
with an increase of richness in cream. The produce after a 
time continues to diminish, and in about forty days before 
the birth, the milk becomes alkaline and incapable of coagu- 
lation, and ceases to be saccharine. The further milking of 
the animal should then cease. Cows are usually milked twice 
in the day throughout the year, in the morning and evening, 
but they may be milked three times in the day when very full 
in milk. The operation should be performed with gentleness 
and care, and the milk withdrawn to the last portion. The 
first drawn milk is always comparatively serous, while every 
succeeding quantity improves in richness and abundance of 
cream, so that the last portion contains many times the pro- 
portion of cream contained in the first. 

The domestic dairy is directed indifferently to the procur- 
ing of milk for food, to the preparation of butter, and some- 
times to the production of cheese. But the larger dairies 
designed for the sale of milk and its products, are devoted 
more exclusively to one or other of these productions. The 
first class of dairies consists of those directed to the disposal 
of milk in the fresh state as human food. Of this kind gene- 
rally are the dairies in and around towns. These are the 
dairies in which the largest return is obtained from the pro- 
duce of the Cow. The second class consists of those in which 
the milk is chiefly employed for the production of butter to 
be disposed of in the fresh state. These are the next in pro- 
fitable return to those in which the milk itself is disposed of; 

280 THE ox. 

and they are generally limited to the vicinity of the markets 
of consumption, or to places having easy access to them. 
Where the market is remote, or the access to it difficult, the 
butter, in place of being used in the fresh state, is salted for 
preservation. The third kind of dairy is chiefly employed in 
the preparation of cheese ; but, for the most part, in the prac- 
tice of the dairy, the manufacture of cheese is combined with 
the preparation of butter to be disposed of in the salted state. 
The interests and habits of the dairyman will lead him to the 
kind of dairy which he shall establish. If he is in the vicinity 
of a town, he will generally adopt that which is to supply the 
inhabitants with milk in the natural state. In this kind of 
dairy the rule of practice is, that the milk shall be conveyed 
to the consumer before the cream has separated from the 
liquid, and before acidity has taken place by the formation 
of acids. To prevent ascescence and the separation of the 
lighter parts, it should be kept at the greatest possible degree 
of cold. The ascescence and coagulation of the milk, too, 
may be retarded or prevented by the addition of an alkaline 
carbonate, of which the most suitable is carbonate of soda. 
The crystallized salt, being dissolved in two or three times 
its weight of cold water, is to be mixed with the milk, until 
a slip of turmeric paper, dipped into the fluid, retains its 
yellow colour, or rather just begins to change its yellow 
colour to brown. And even when milk has become acid 
and curdled, it may have its properties restored by this 
mean. Milk, too, may be preserved by heating it when taken 
from the Cow, and once a-day afterwards. When milk is 
evaporated to dryness, the residuum, in the form of a powder, 
may be preserved in close bottles ; and when required for 
use, mixed with water, to be formed into an emulsion, which 
is not very different in its flavour and qualities from the ori- 
ginal milk ; and in this manner the substance of milk may 
be preserved for the longest sea-voyages and distant jour- 
neys. The trade in milk in large towns has given rise to a 
system of adulteration which ought to be punished as a fraud 
upon the consumer. The primary adulteration is dilution by 


water, which is known to be practised to a great extent in 
some of the capitals of Europe, and chiefly in London and 
Paris. The effect is not confined to an impairing of the 
nutritive properties of the milk : it leads to other devices, 
still more criminal, for the purpose of concealing the adul- 

The next destination of the dairy is the production of 
Butter. The preparation of butter is a simple process, capable 
of being performed on the large scale, as well as on the small 
by the domestic inmates of the household. It may be ob- 
tained either by separating the cream from the milk and 
churning it, or by churning the cream and milk together. By 
churning the cream alone, butter will be obtained of better 
flavour and more valued for domestic use ; by churning the 
milk without separation of the cream, butter will be obtained 
in larger quantity, and, though not usually so delicate in its 
fresh state, equally suited for being salted. 

When butter is to be prepared by churning the cream alone, 
the following is the method adopted. The Cows being milked, 
the milk is carried home to the dairy in pails or larger vessels, 
into which the smaller ones have been emptied, with the least 
possible delay or agitation of the milk. For which reasons, 
as well as in order to economize the time of the milkers, the 
cows to be milked may be driven quietly home to the vici- 
nity of the dairy. The milk is passed through a hair-sieve 
into the vessels in which it is to remain. These vessels may 
either consist of shallow troughs formed of marble or slate, 
of a size to contain the milk of several cows, and having an 
aperture with a stopcock at bottom ; or of shallow circular 
vessels capable of containing from half a gallon to a gallon. 
The latter are made of wood, but better of unglazed earthen- 
ware ; and, with still greater advantage, of zinc, or of cast- 
iron softened by annealing, turned smooth inside, and coated 
with tin. Whichever class of coolers is employed, the milk 
is emptied into them to the depth of from four to six inches, 
and the liquid is left at rest in the milk-room. In twenty- 

282 THE OX. 

four hours, the greater part of the cream will have risen to 
the surface ; but a larger quantity will be obtained if the 
milk is allowed to stand for a longer time. Sometimes, in 
very cold weather, it is permitted to stand for forty- eight 
hours ; but twenty-four will suffice for obtaining all the more 
valuable part of the cream. When the larger troughs are 
used, the stop-cock is turned, and the serous milk is with- 
drawn from beneath the cream ; and then the cream is in 
like manner withdrawn into a separate vessel ; and in the 
case of the smaller coolers, the cream is skimmed off, which 
may be done by a flat perforated dish of tin. Sometimes re- 
peated skimmings of the cream take place, and sometimes 
its separation is favoured by the application of heat. The 
apartment for containing the milk, commonly termed the 
milk-room, should be well protected from the effect of the 
sun's rays, and formed so as to admit of easy ventilation. 
It should, if possible, be arched with brick or stone, have a 
northern exposure, and be distant from standing ponds of 
water and putrid effluvia. 

The cream being removed, is put into a vessel, frequently 
a barrel, but better a jar of unglazed earthenware, or vase 
of marble. Fresh portions of cream, from successive milk- 
ings of the cows, are added, until a sufficient quantity is col- 
lected for churning. It may remain a week, but it is better 
that the period should not exceed four or five days. In this 
state the whole cream becomes acid and coagulates, which 
favours the separation of the butter ; and in order to produce 
coagulation, the acid juice of lemon may be added. When 
the necessary quantity of cream has been collected, it is put 
into the churn. 

Churns are of various kinds. The most common is the 
Plunge-churn, as it is called, moved by the hand. It consists 
of a cylindrical vessel of wood placed upright. The agitation 
is given to the milk by a perforated board, which nearly fits 
the cylinder, and to which is attached a long handle. This 
being moved up and down, the milk is agitated, and the butter, 


after a time, is separated. The other kind of churn, termed 
the Barrel-churn, consists of a cylindrical vessel of wood, 
placed horizontally, through which, an axle passes having 
sparred arms or wings, which are fixed to it within the cylin- 
der. A handle is attached, and either the churn is moved 
round, or the axle with its arms is moved, the churn remain- 
ing stationary. Of the two kinds described, the best is the 
plunge-churn, which may either be moved by the hand, or be 
on the larger scale, and driven by machinery. 

The best temperature for churning is about 56 of Fahren- 
heit, the heat of the milk rising 4 by the action of churning ; 
and in the warmer season of summer, the most suitable time 
for performing the operation is in the cool of the morning. 
In winter, when the weather is cold, the temperature of the 
milk should be raised to 60 or more, by the addition of warm 
water. The time required for churning by the hand varies 
from about an hour and a quarter to two hours ; and in win- 
ter to three hours. The process should be begun gently, so 
as to break the coagulum, and then continued equally and 
without intermission. 

The butter being formed, is collected and removed from 
the churn. It is then worked to and fro on a board, or 
smooth slab, so as to express the serum, dried with a cloth, 
or moderately washed with water. The operation of knead- 
ing may be performed by the hand, but it is better done by 
wooden spatulse, the contact of the hand injuring the butter. 
When the butter is not designed for immediate use, the pres- 
sure and washing should be so performed as that all the 
serum shall be separated, any portion of it remaining caus- 
ing the butter to spoil in a short time. When the butter is 
intended for sale, it is mixed with a little pure salt, and 
formed into lumps or rolls, usually of a pound or half a pound 
each. It is kept cool, but in no case under water. When 
the butter is not designed for present consumption, it is 
more or less impregnated with salt, in the proportion of an 
ounce or less to the pound. The salt being worked into the 

284 THE ox. 

butter, the latter is put in jars or casks. The casks should 
be of lime-tree, or other hard wood, carefully seasoned by 
being boiled for several hours before being formed into casks, 
and afterwards by being exposed to the air, and well soaked 
in cold water or brine previous to use. The cask being rub- 
bed in the inside with salt, the butter is pressed into it, and 
in seven or eight days a quantity of melted butter, or a satu- 
rated solution of salt and water, may be poured in to fill up 
any vacuity between the butter and the wood ; and the whole 
being then covered with a layer of salt, the top of the vessel 
is put on. With the salt employed in curing may be mixed 
a proportion of purified nitrate of potash, and sometimes a 
quantity of sugar, which preserves the butter without com- 
municating a saline taste. 

The other method practised consists in churning the milk 
and cream together. In this case the milk, as it is brought 
from the cows, is put into the cooling vessels, as before, in 
order that it may cool down quickly to the temperature of 
the milk-house. When this has taken place, or even with- 
out the preliminary cooling, the whole milk is emptied into 
a barrel, where it remains until it becomes acid and coagu- 
lates. This will take place in a week or less, according to 
the temperature of the air. It is then put into the churn, 
and gently churned for a few seconds, so as to break the 
coagulum, and mix its parts ; and then a little hot water is 
added, so as to raise the temperature to 70 or 75. The addi- 
tion of hot water is not necessary, but it saves labour by 
causing the butter to separate more readily. The process of 
churning is more laborious than when the cream alone is 
used ; and therefore machinery should be employed to move 
the churn. In the larger dairies the churn may be made to 
contain sixty or seventy gallons or more, and this quantity 
of milk may, by means of a small pony or slight water-power, 
be churned in an hour and a half. 

When the cream alone has been used in churning, the re- 
siduum, after removal of the cream, is skimmilk. This sub- 


stance still retains the caseous matter of the milk, and may, 
therefore, be employed for the making of cheese. But it is 
not so well suited for this purpose as the entire milk, because 
the cream, which adds to the richness of the cheese, has been 
mostly withdrawn. It may be used for human food, and is 
perfectly nutritious, containing both the cheesy matter and 
sugar of milk. Over a large part of England it is chiefly 
employed for the feeding of Hogs, which is a great misappli- 
cation of a substance fitted for human aliment, and practised 
in no other country in Europe. 

When the milk and cream are churned together, the dairy 
affords no skimmilk, But in place of it there is the butter- 
milk, which is a greatly more nutritive substance than that 
which is obtained when the cream alone is churned. It is 
merely, in truth, the milk deprived of its butter. It is sub- 
acid and cooling, and is used for food in some of the western 
counties of England, largely throughout the west of Scotland, 
and all over Ireland. It may be coagulated, and cheese pre- 
pared from it ; but the cheese of buttermilk is of little esti- 
mation. When buttermilk is kept, it partially undergoes the 
alcoholic fermentation, and becomes intoxicating. 

The consumption of butter in the British Islands is prodi- 
giously great. It is used by all classes in the solid form as 
a grateful food ; and is applied to the same purposes of house- 
hold economy for which oil is used in the countries of the 
olive. Notwithstanding the vast internal production, a large 
importation takes place from other countries, chiefly from 
Germany and Holland. The principal district of the butter 
dairy in England is the southern and south-eastern counties. 
Butter is brought to London in the fresh state from the dis- 
tant provinces ; and even when salted, it is the practice of 
the dealers to wash out the salt, and sell the butter to the 
inhabitants as fresh. 

The other product of the dairy is Cheese, which may either 
be produced by curdling the entire milk, or by separating the 
cream and coagulating the milk alone. The first process is 

286 THE OX. 

the preparation of the coagulating medium termed runnet or 
rennet, which is most conveniently derived from the gastric 
juice contained in the abomasum, or fourth stomach, of a 
sucking calf. "When the animal is just killed, this organ 
with the coagulated milk and chyme which it contains, is 
taken out to be preserved by salting and drying in the man- 
ner of bacon. When required for use, it is cut into small 
pieces, and macerated in water for a few days, and the liquor, 
which is Runnet, is preserved in bottles. Prepared stomachs 
of the calf form the subject of commerce. They are imported 
from Ireland under the name of Veils ; but every dairyman 
should prepare them for himself, as in this way only he can 
be assured of the strength and goodness of his runnet. 

When a cheese is to be formed, the course of proceeding 
is determined by the quantity of milk at the command of the 
dairyman. If there is a sufficient number of cows to make 
one or more cheeses at each milking, then the milk, as it is 
brought from the cows, is strained through a hair-sieve into 
a tub or vat, and while it is yet warm the runnet is added ; 
and if it shall have been too much cooled after milking, it is 
raised to the required temperature by the addition of hot 
water. The quantity of runnet used depends upon its strength, 
and this again on the method by which it has been prepared ; 
so that no precise rule exists for adapting the quantity of 
runnet to that of the milk to be acted upon. It is used in all 
quantities, from a table-spoonful or two to the third part of 
a pint, the rule of practice being to employ it in such a quan- 
tity, as shall just suffice to coagulate the milk in the space of 
not less than an hour. Previous to the addition of the run- 
net, it is common, in the English dairies, to add some colour- 
ing matter, in order to give a red tinge to the cheese. The 
substance commonly employed is arnotto, which is derived 
from the red pulp covering the seeds of the shrub Bixa Orel- 
lana, and is imported from South America and the West 
Indian Islands in the form of red balls. It is dissolved in a 
bowl of milk by rubbing a small piece of it on a smooth stone 


kept for the purpose, which causes the milk to assume a deep 
red colour ; and the milk thus coloured, is added to that to be 
curdled in the quantity required to give it a deep orange tinge. 
The dye being mixed, the runnet is added, and the whole 
being stirred, the vat is covered with a thick canvass cloth, 
so as to prevent the milk from cooling : the whole is then left 
at rest, and the coagulation proceeds to its termination. 

This is the method of proceeding, when there is a sufficient 
quantity of milk at each milking of the cows to form one or 
more cheeses ; but when there is not a sufficient quantity of 
milk for this purpose, or when for any reason the milk of a pre- 
vious collection is mixed with the new, then the older milk is 
to be heated to the required temperature before being mixed 
with the new. This may be done by heating the old milk 
in a boiler to the temperature of about 90, or better, by 
putting the milk in a tin or copper can, and placing this in 
a cauldron of boiling water ; or else by heating only such a 
portion of the milk as, when added to the remainder, shall 
raise it to the temperature sought for. The heated milk and 
the new being then mixed together, the colouring matter and 
runnet are added, the vat is covered, and the coagulation 
allowed to proceed. 

The most suitable temperature for the milk to be curdled 
is found to be about 90. The quantity of runnet should be 
so adjusted to the liquid, as that the coagulation shall take 
place in about an hour. If the coagulation take place too 
quickly, either from an excess in the proportion of runnet, or 
too high a temperature of the milk, the curd produced is hard 
and tough, and the cheese is wanting in delicacy of texture 
and flavour ; and if, on the other hand, the strength of the 
runnet, or temperature of the liquid, is too small, the curd 
does not acquire sufficient consistence. 

The curd being formed, the whey is expressed. This is at 
first done gently, because otherwise, before the curd has 
acquired consistence, a portion of the cream would be ex- 
pressed along with the serum. The most approved practice 

288 THE ox. 

is to cut the curd quickly, and in all directions, with a knife. 
A common table-knife will suffice ; but it is better that it be 
formed of several blades, at the distance of an inch from one 
another. On dividing the curd, the whey rapidly exudes and 
rises to the surface, and the curd subsides to the bottom. 
As soon as this has taken place, the whey is to be rapidly 
removed. This is done partly by pouring it off, and partly 
by baling it out with wooden bowls, although it might be 
better done by a syphon. The subdivision of the curd with 
the knife at the same time is continued, and when all the 
whey that can be separated in this manner is removed, the 
curd is taken out and placed on a long sieve, and permitted 
to drain. When the whey by these means has been drained 
to the utmost, the curd is placed on a board, or in a perforated 
vat. It is then minutely comminuted and compressed by the 
hands ; and this manipulation is continued so long as any 
whey can be expressed. 

The curd is then to be subjected to the action of the cheese- 
press, in order that it may be consolidated, and that all the 
further serous matter may be expressed. To this end it is 
pressed into the mould, which is a wooden vessel of the size 
and shape of the cheese to be made, formed generally by the 
turning-lathe out of a solid block of wood, and furnished with 
a thick separate top, of a size sufficient to fit the interior of 
the mould. A linen cloth, to be folded round the cheese, is 
put into the mould ; and the comminuted curd is heaped into 
the cloth, which is covered over it, and the whole is put 
under the press. The curd remains in the press for an hour 
or two ; when it is taken out, wrapped in a fresh cloth, and 
replaced in the press. After this it is taken out every six 
hours, or oftener, the same operations being repeated. In 
three days, or more, according to the degree of previous ma- 
nipulation, the operation will be completed. The pressure 
on the curd should have been gradually increased from about 
60 Ib. to 300 lb., or more. 

The cheese has now to be removed to a warm apartment. 


If it has not been previously salted, which may have been 
done either by salting the curd, or by rubbing the cheese 
with salt each time it was taken out of the press, it is now 
to be salted. To this end, it is to be rubbed with salt daily 
for eight or ten days. It may likewise be washed once or 
twice with hot water, and finally rubbed with butter, so as 
to soften the external surface, and prevent its cracking. It 
is then placed in the store-room, on a shelf, where it remains 
until disposed of. It is for a time to be turned daily, and 
the skin is to be kept clean and soft, by anointing and brush- 
ing it. The cheese apartment should be moderately cool, 
and be ventilated without admitting any current of wind. It 
should be kept exceedingly clean, and the walls and other 
parts should be frequently washed with a solution of chloride 
of lime, so as to destroy effluvia, and prevent the multiplica- 
tion of insects which deposit their eggs in the cheese. 

When cheese of peculiar richness is required, the prac- 
tice is to add a further quantity of cream to the milk to be 
curdled than that which itself produces : thus the cream of 
one milking is added to the milk of the following one, which 
is made into curd. By this mean the milk for each cheese 
has not only its own cream, but that of the previous milking. 
There is waste in this practice, but the higher price of the 
cheese compensates the dairyman. In this manner are made 
the rich cheeses of Stilton, Cottenham, and Southam, usually 
termed cream-cheeses. The process is, after having milked 
the cows in the morning, to skim off the cream of the pre- 
vious evening, and mix it with the new milk. The runnet 
being added, the coagulation is allowed to take place in the 
usual manner, with this difference, that the temperature of 
the milk is kept somewhat lower, and the coagulation more 
slowly produced. To retain the cream, too, the whey is 
more cautiously separated, and, in place of the strong pres- 
sure of the cheese-press, the cheese is pressed with cloths 
bound round it. In the preparation of the cheese called 
Stilton, which is the most esteemed of this class, the curd, 


290 THE OX. 

after being formed, is gently lifted out of the vat and placed 
on a sieve. When the whey is strained off, the curd is care- 
fully compressed by the hand till it has become dry and firm, 
and then placed in a box or mould. It is afterwards set on 
a dry board, and bound round with fillets of linen cloth, 
which are tightened as occasion requires. The ends of the 
cheese are carefully brushed, and when the cloths are re- 
moved, the sides are treated in the same manner ; and this 
manipulation is continued for two or three months. Some- 
times the curd is hung upon nets, but the cheeses formed in 
this way are not so much valued as those which are made in 

Another class of cheeses consists of those which are made 
after a separation of the cream, usually termed skimmilk 
cheeses. They are less oily, and consequently less valued 
than the, others ; but they are nearly equally nutritious, and 
are largely consumed in the recent state by the less opulent 
classes. They withstand the heat of warm climates better 
than the richer kinds, are less subject to injury from the 
larvce of insects, and are better suited, accordingly, to the 
victualling of ships. They should be made in the same man- 
ner as the full-milk cheeses, with equal attention to the slow 
coagulation of the milk, to the careful separation of the 
whey, and the gradual pressure on the curd. 

Cheese is produced in almost every part of the United 
Kingdom ; but its quality varies greatly in different districts, 
according to the care with which the manipulation is per- 
formed, and the skill derived from experience. The manu- 
facture is more especially carried on in the country north 
and west of the line extending from the Wash to Somerset- 
shire. The centre of the principal cheese-district of the 
south-western division of the kingdom, is the county of 
Gloucester, where the rich vales of the Severn and the Avon 
are depastured by extensive herds of dairy cows. The cheese 
of Gloucester is of two kinds, the single and the double. 
The first is made with new milk in the morning, to which 


is added the milk of the previous evening deprived of its 
cream, which is made into butter. The single Gloucester, 
therefore, contains only half the natural cream of the milk ; 
yet it is so admirably made, that it excels that of other dis- 
tricts where the whole cream is consumed. The double 
Gloucester, the greater part of which is produced in the hun- 
dred of Berkley, is made of the milk with all its natural 
cream. It is the most generally esteemed kind of cheese 
produced in England, possessing all the richness that ought 
to be required, with a mild and grateful flavour. Although 
Gloucestershire still retains its pre-eminence, the same kind 
of cheese is produced in all the neighbouring counties. The 
Berkley cheeses are purchased by the cheese-factor about 
Michaelmas : he judges of the quality by the blue colour of 
the skin appearing through the red dye with which their 
surface is tinged : he used to walk over each cheese ; if it 
yielded to the pressure of the foot, it was said to be heaved, 
and was rejected as unfit for the London market. The Vale 
of Berkley alone is computed to produce annually from a 
thousand to twelve hundred tons of these unrivalled cheeses. 

From Gloucester the manufacture of cheese, on the large 
scale, extends into Oxfordshire, and up the Avon into War- 
wickshire, which is computed to produce above twenty thou- 
sand tons annually, and into all the neighbouring districts. 
The county of Somerset likewise abounds in dairies, but ap- 
plied as much to the production of butter as of cheese. The 
marshes between Bridgewater and Cross produce a fine oily 
cheese ; and that of the Vale of Cheddar has something 
of the flavour of Parmesan. In North Wiltshire, likewise, 
are many dairies. The cheese is prepared nearly in the 
same manner as that of Gloucester. It is mild and agree- 
able : the cheeses are small, and being made into fanciful 
forms, as pine-apples, and the like, are widely distributed in 
the towns. 

The next great cheese-manufacturing district is Cheshire, 
which has been earlier distinguished for this production than 

292 THE OX. 

any other part of England. The cheese of Cheshire is pre- 
pared from the milk of the morning, to which is added that 
of the previous evening, with its cream. It undergoes a 
more laborious manipulation than that of Gloucester, and it is 
more largely saturated with salt. It is not only salted when 
in the state of curd, but it is rubbed externally, and steeped 
in brine. The cheeses are made very large, weighing from 
60 to 100 lb., and more. They are not regarded as matured 
for use until they are two years old. They have a strong 
taste, which increases with age, and are altogether different 
in texture and flavour from the mild and fragrant cheeses of 
Gloucester and the adjoining districts. But they keep ad- 
mirably well, and are more largely carried to other countries 
than any of the other cheeses of England. The same kind of 
cheese is largely produced in Shropshire on the south, and 
likewise in Lancashire on the north. 

Turning to the eastern counties, the extensive district 
stretching from the Humber northward, and comprehending 
the counties of York, Durham, and Northumberland, neces- 
sarily yields a large quantity of milk, and all the products of 
the dairy. But this is rather a breeding and fattening than 
a dairy district ; and the cultivation of Cows for milk is sub- 
ordinate to the other purposes of the grazier. The main 
productions of the dairy are milk and butter, which, with the 
cheese produced, are chiefly, though not exclusively, destined 
for the supply of the numerous population of the country 
itself. The cheese of this part of England differs greatly 
from the strong and harsh cheese of Cheshire ; but it is in- 
ferior in delicacy and flavour to that of the south-western 
counties. In contact with Yorkshire to the west, is Derby- 
shire, in which numerous dairies are established. The cheese 
of Derbyshire is known in the market by its own name ; the 
butter used in the same district is chiefly derived from whey. 

Crossing the Humber to the south, we enter the district 
where the richer cheeses, with an excess of cream, are pro- 
duced. Thev are termed Stilton, from the market-town of 


that name where they first became known. They are chiefly 
produced in the county of Leicester, and especially in the 
villages round Melton Mowbray ; but they are likewise manu- 
factured in the counties of Lincoln, Huntingdon, and Rut- 
land, still retaining the name of Stilton. These cheeses, 
it has been said, are formed from the morning's milk, with 
the addition of the cream of the preceding evening. They 
are in great request, from their superior richness and agree- 
able flavour ; but, from their high price, their consumption 
is limited to the more wealthy classes, and their economical 
importance is therefore greatly inferior to that of the more 
common kinds. They are not reckoned sufficiently mellow 
for use until they are two years old, when they are in a state 
of incipient decomposition. In the county of Cambridge are 
produced the rich cheeses of Cottenham and Southam. 
Another kind of cheese is produced in Yorkshire, Lincoln- 
shire, and many par.ts of England, formed wholly of coagu- 
lated cream. This must be used in the recent state, and is 
merely the subject of household luxury. 

Scotland, although abounding in milk, is greatly inferior 
to England with respect to the production of the finer kinds 
of cheese. The cheeses of Scotland are, for the most part, 
meagre and deficient in richness, flavour, and aroma ; but, 
with the progress of the dairy, this manufacture has been long 
in a state of improvement. The district of Cuningham, in 
Ayrshire, became the first distinguished for the manufacture 
of cheese, which is known by the name of Dunlop, and has 
long been much esteemed, and is largely used in the western 
counties of Scotland. It is mild and well tasted, but want- 
ing in the peculiar pungency which distinguishes the finer 
cheeses of England. It has, however, been continually im- 
proving with the enlarging demand, and more extended prac- 
tice of the dairy. Similar cheese is produced in the neigh- 
bouring counties of Renfrew and Lanark. In general, the 
practice in the Scotch dairies is economical, simple, and 
efficient ; but the manual processes are less carefully executed 

294 THE ox. 

than in the practice of the superior dairies in England. Ire- 
land is in no way distinguished for the manufacture of cheese. 
The principal destination of the dairy in that country is 
butter and buttermilk, which better consists with the state 
of the poorer tenants, and the divided possessions of the 

The manufacture of skimmilk cheese is not confined to any 
part of the kingdom, but is carried on wherever the dairy is 
established. As the food of the working classes, this kind 
of cheese is deserving of much attention. But from the 
greater demand for the richer cheeses which exists in Eng- 
land, and the consequent inferiority of the price of the other 
kinds, it has happened that the manufacture of skimmilk 
cheese is often performed in a too careless and imperfect 
manner. On this account the* skimmilk cheeses of England 
are inferior to what the experience of other countries shews 
they could be rendered. 

With respect to the produce of the dairy, the ordinary 
computation is, that from 7 to 8 pints, or nearly a gallon, of 
new milk, will produce 1 Ib. of cheese. When the cream is 
removed, the residuum or skimmilk will produce in about the 
proportion of 25 per cent, less of cheese than if the cream 
had remained. Somewhat more than 2 gallons of milk, with 
its cream, will produce 1 Ib. of butter ; but if the cream be 
removed and churned separately, about 3 gallons of milk will 
be required to yield 1 Ib. of butter. The price of full-milk 
cheese may be estimated on a medium at 6d. per Ib. ; that of 
skimmilk cheese at from 3d. to 4d. ; that of butter at from 
lOd. to Is. The quantity of milk yielded by a Cow varies 
greatly with the breed, and properties of the individual. In 
the case of the smaller and inferior class of Cows, the produce 
may be from 200 to 400 gallons in the year ; in the case of 
the superior class, from 500 to 1000 gallons. The quantity, 
too, varies much with the abundance and quality of the food 
supplied, so that, cceteris paribus, a Cow will yield milk nearly 
in proportion to the nutriment she is enabled to assimilate. 


The high value of the products of the dairy, and the prodigi- 
ous diversity in the faculty of individual Cows to yield milk, 
shew the great importance of extending a knowledge of the 
best modes of performing the manufacture, of cultivating a 
suitable race of Cows, and of feeding them in the best man- 
ner which the means at the command of the dairyman will 

The Dairy is a branch of rural industry deserving of at- 
tention in the highest degree. There are no other means 
known to us by which so great a quantity of animal food can 
be derived for human support from the same space of ground. 
In the British Islands the production of this kind of aliment 
is very great, and its entire value forms no inconsiderable pro- 
portion of the yearly created produce of the land. There is no 
class of persons by whom milk in one or more of its forms is 
not used. Cheese may seem to be a mere superfluity to those 
who feed largely on other animal food; yet, even amongst 
this class, the consumption, from its regularity, is consider- 
able ; but amongst the far more numerous classes to whom 
cheese is a part of their customary diet, the consumption of 
this substance is very great. Butter is used by almost every 
family above the poorest, and to an enormous extent as a 
substitute for oil in culinary preparations. Simple milk, too, 
enters into the diet of every class ; with this peculiarity, that 
it is consumed in larger quantity in the rural districts than 
in the towns. It may be difficult to make an approximate 
calculation of the quantity and value of milk consumed by 
the twenty-six millions of inhabitants of the British Islands. 
It is perhaps a reasonable calculation, that, of twenty mil- 
lions of these, each individual consumes a pint of milk in a 
day in its different forms, which would produce 912,500,000 
gallons per annum, and at 8d. the gallon, L.30,416,666, 
besides more than 200 millions of gallons employed in the 
rearing and fattening of Calves. Great as this production is, 
it is not sufficient for the supply of the inhabitants ; and an 
importation takes place both of butter and cheese, which an 

296 THE OX. 

extension of the native Dairy would enable the country to 
dispense with. 

We will now review the various Breeds of British Cattle, 
whether suited for the dairy, or for being grazed and fat- 


The Wild Breed, or, as it may be termed when domesti- 
cated, the White Forest Breed, identical with the ancient 
Urus, is still preserved, it has been seen, in a few Parks, 
where the animals, herding and breeding only with one an- 
other, retain their pristine characters. Numbers, however, 
existed in the domesticated state in Wales, until late in the 
last century ; but they have now, for the most part, become 
so changed in colour and habits, that they can rarely be dis- 
tinguished from the ordinary races of the country, although 
scattered individuals are yet to be met with, as in the county 
of Pembroke, in no respect distinguishable from the Wild 
Cattle of the Parks. Between Stafford and Lichfield, too, 
cattle of this race are in considerable numbers. They are 
here destitute of horns, in which respect they resemble those 
which are kept at Ribbesdale. They are of good size, and 
are valued by the farmers as dairy cows. This race could, 
doubtless, like any other, have its useful properties called 
forth by the care of the breeder ; but little benefit, it is con- 
ceived, would result from generally domesticating it, or re- 
sorting to it for the purpose of crossing the common varieties. 


In the Zetland Islands, races of Cattle, Sheep, and Horses, 
have existed from time immemorial, distinct in their charac- 
ters from those which are indigenous to the Northern High- 
lands, and other parts of Scotland. These remote islands, 


the Thule of the Roman writers, were early united to the 
kingdom of Norway, and, in the middle ages, were in the 
hands of those lawless rovers, whose piracies extended to the 
fairer portions of Europe. The Islands were at length trans- 
ferred to the Crown of Scotland, and were for ages subjected 
to the servitude of the feudal system in its most cruel form. 
But the inhabitants, though mixed with their conquerors, 
remained essentially Norwegian ; and, even until the last 
century, the Norse language continued to be that of the op- 
pressed inhabitants. The domestic animals of the country 
were, in like manner, distinct from those of the Celtic in- 
habitants of the Main, and to this day present the traces of 
their Scandinavian descent. 

The cattle are distinctly Norwegian in their characters, 
and a similar race extends to Iceland. They are small, but 
of very good form when pure, and fatten with great quick- 
ness when carried to superior pastures. Their horns are 
short, their skin is soft, and their flesh is equal to that of 
any cattle produced in the British Islands. They are of 
various colours, generally party-coloured, and tending more 
to the lighter shades than the cattle of the Highlands. The 
females receive the male at an earlier age than is known in 
the case of any other breed in this country. The heat oc- 
curs at the age of five or six months, and has been observed 
even at four months, indicating an early precocity of the 
animals, and a tendency to arrive soon at old age. The 
cows are tolerably good milkers, in which respect they agree 
with the cattle of Norway, and differ from those of the High- 
lands ; and in this respect too, they agree with the cattle of 
Jersey and the islands of the Channel, which are likewise 
believed to be of Norwegian origin. 

These cattle are smaller than those of Norway, which is 
to be ascribed partly to the absence of shelter, and partly to 
the want of artificial food. These islands, though exposed 
to perpetual storms from the tempestuous seas that surround 
them, have not so cold a climate as Norway ; but they are 



totally destitute of the noble forests which, in the latter 
country, afford shelter from the icy blasts of winter, while 
the tillage of the country is every way inferior. 

Norway is a country of independent proprietors, main- 
tained, by their laws of equal succession, in a happy medio- 
crity of condition, cultivating their paternal fields, and reap- 
ing the direct reward of their individual industry. In the 
Islands of Zetland, the cultivators of the soil are mostly 
miserable tenants, who labour for others, and have neither 
the means nor the will to call forth the resources of their 
country. Hence it is, that, while the rude industry of the 
Norwegians suffices to supply their domestic animals with 
such food as the country affords, the cattle of the Zetland 
Islands are left almost in a state of nature, without sufficient 
sustenance in winter, and with scarce any other shelter than 
the desolate rocks of the country supply. Thus they remain 
without that development of form which sufficient food and 
careful treatment never fail to produce. Like the Sheep of 
the same country, they eat the fuci and other algse of the 
coasts, and wait the ebbing of the tide, that they may pro- 
cure this species of food. 

The cattle of Zetland have necessarily become much mixed 
with those of Orkney, and the latter again with those of 
Caithness and the Northern Highlands. These mixed races 
are rarely equal to those of pure descent. The crossing, too, 
has never been pursued on fixed principles, and hence the mo- 
dern cattle of Zetland are far inferior to what they might 
have been rendered by cultivating with care the parent stock. 
But, above all things, the starving of the animals while young, 
has contributed to render them puny and degenerate, as com- 
pared with the ancient Scandinavian stock. It is pleasing, 
however, to record, that the seeds of improvement are scat- 
tered in these islands, and that the attention of intelligent 
gentlemen is now directed to the improvement of the country, 
aided by the increased intercourse which steam navigation 
has opened up with the markets of the south. This latter 


circumstance may be expected to increase the profits of the 
producers of cattle, and enable them gradually to extend 
their supplies of artificial food. 

A question of economical importance is, the manner in 
which the existing race of Zetland can be improved. The 
first means, certainly, are a better system of feeding and 
general treatment, applied to the animals when young. The 
next mode is the introduction of suitable males for breeding. 
These might be obtained from the West Highlands, but the 
end would probably be still more effectually attained by re- 
sorting to Norway, where excellent bulls of the parent stock 
can be obtained with facility. 

It is remarkable, that the little cattle of these islands 
form admirable first crosses with superior breeds, as the 
Short-horned ; but this system of crossing, though it may be 
more profitable to individual breeders, can do nothing for the 
general improvement of the stock of the country itself. The 
animals reared must be of a kind suited to the conditions in 
which they are placed. They must be small, hardy, and 
adapted to the state of agriculture which circumstances 
allow to be pursued. 

The same general remarks will apply to the cattle of the 
Orkney Islands. These likewise present the traces of their 
Scandinavian descent, but they are greatly more mixed with 
the races of the Main. In particular, many bulls of coarse 
form have been introduced from Caithness, itself possessing a 
mixed breed, and thus herds, without definite characters, are 
everywhere produced. 

In every considerable tract of country, it may be observed, 
many advantages result from possessing a well defined breed. 
In this case, the breeder has merely to select for propagation 
the best animals of the race. He has the assurance that the 
progeny will possess the general characters which he wishes 
to communicate. But when there is no distinct breed, in the 
ordinary sense of the term, his expectations will be con- 
tinually subject to disappointment, by the progeny present- 

300 THE OX. 

ing characters different from those of the parents. An effect 
of the same kind is seen every day in the case of Dogs. If 
we breed solely from Greyhounds, Terriers, or Sheep-dogs, 
we calculate securely on obtaining those varieties respec- 
tively, with more or less of the virtues of the parents ; but if 
we produce a mixed race, we can predicate nothing certainly 
regarding the form and qualities of the mongrel progeny. 


The great Primary district of Scotland, usually termed the 
Highlands, has been occupied, beyond the records of history 
and tradition, by numerous herds of cattle, which have ac- 
quired the characters suited to a country of heaths and high 
mountains. These cattle, although varying in size and 
aspect with the nature and altitude of the country, present, 
with few exceptions, such characters in common, as to entitle 
us to refer them to a common origin. In the Zetland and 
Orkney Islands, there has existed the peculiar race which 
has been described ; but in all the Highlands, properly so 
called, the herds of cattle, however distant in their habitat, 
constitute a group, connected by affinities which form a breed 
in the usual sense of the term. They are small in size ; have 
horns in the male and female, turning more or less upwards 
at the points ; have short muscular limbs, and are largely 
covered with hair. Their muzzle is usually black ; they have 
dewlaps, and on the neck a ridge of coarser hair, forming a 
mane. Their colour is various, often black, sometimes brown, 
or a mixture of brown or black, and often mouse- dun. They 
are hardy beyond all the races of the cattle reared in the 
British Islands. Their size bears a constant relation to the 
supplies of natural food. In the Northern and Central High- 
lands, it often does not exceed that of the calves of a few 
months old of the larger breeds. Towards Argyleshire, on 
the south-west, including several of the Hebrides, where the 


production of the grasses and other herbaceous plants is more 
abundant, the size of the animals becomes in a corresponding 
degree enlarged. In like manner, towards the eastern coast, 
where the mountains pass into the lower country, the cattle 
gradually assume a character approaching that of the larger 

All analogy leads us to infer, that the Mountain Breeds of 
Scotland are identical with those which formerly inhabited 
the woods of that country, which, we have seen, were the 
ancient Uri. and which we may term the White Forest Breed. 
The physical circumstances of Scotland, however, have vastly 
changed even within the historical era. Like Norway and 
other countries of the north of Europe, it was once covered 
with great forests, nearly all of which have disappeared, 
leaving the country destitute of shelter, and covered with 
heaths and the plants peculiar to peat. Under such circum- 
stances, we must expect a corresponding distinction between 
the ancient cattle of the forests, and those which have for 
ages inhabited, in a state of semi-domestication, the bleak 
mountains of the country. The main difference consists in 
habits, the one class natural to a state of liberty, and the 
other of dependence ; yet this difference disappears when the 
animals are placed under similar circumstances. The Wild 
Breed becomes domesticated with the utmost facility ; and 
the tame breed, if left in a state of entire liberty, assumes 
the more striking habits of the wild, the shyness, the swift- 
ness, the concealment by the mothers of their young, and the 
like. In some of the few remaining pine forests of the north 
of Scotland, cows which are left to stray become as wild as 
deer, and are shot in the same manner. The white colour of 
the Urus in many cases returns, so that we have almost a 
complete restoration of the ancient characters of the race. 
Individual cattle are sometimes met with amongst the droves 
of the Northern Highlands, resembling, even to the marking 
of the ears, the White Forest Breed of the parks. 

The finest of the native cattle of the Highlands are bred 

302 THE OX. 

in Argyleshire and the neighbouring Islands. This charac- 
ter they owe to the greater development of their forms, to 
the superior herbage of the western coasts, but in a great 
degree, likewise, to the superior care bestowed in breed- 
ing. After the middle of last century, Archibald Duke of 
Argyle, a worthy and patriotic individual, bestowed consi- 
derable attention in improving the cattle of the district sur- 
rounding his own seat of Inverary ; and more recently, nu- 
merous gentlemen of the Western Highlands have devoted 
sedulous attention to the improvement of this breed. On 
these accounts, the variety of the Western Highlands is 
usually referred to as the model of the breed, just as that of 
Pembroke is regarded as the model of the Mountain Breeds 
of Wales. But the West Highland Breed has extended to 
Perthshire and other parts ; and in almost every part of the 
Highlands, are now to be found gentlemen devoting their 
attention to the improvement of this staple production of their 
country. ! 

Although it is well known to all breeders, that a certain 
class of external characters indicates a disposition to arrive 
at an early maturity of bone and muscle, and to become 
easily fat, namely, a large cylindrical body, dependent upon 
the greater curvature of the ribs, a body large with relation 
to the limbs, or, in other words, limbs short with relation 
to the body, a broad expanded chest, a skin soft to the touch 
and expansile, a relative smallness of the bones, and an ab- 
sence of coarseness in the extremities ; and in certain breeds 
of the lower countries, these characters may be developed 
to a high degree ; yet, in a country of mountains and heaths, 
with a cold, humid, ungenial climate, there must be com- 
bined with these a set of characters indicative of that hardi- 
ness of constitution, without which the animals would be un- 
suited to the condition in which they are placed. That ex- 
treme delicacy of form which can be easily communicated 
by breeding, must be avoided. The hair, while it is silky, 
unctuous, and free from harshness, should be abundant and 


curling ; the neck should be strong and muscular ; the fore- 
head rather broad ; and the nose, from the eyes to the muzzle, 
somewhat short ; a dewlap should exist as a character of 
the breed ; the eyes should be prominent and clear ; the 
horns should be of good length, without approaching to 
coarseness, spreading, and tipped with black. 

Now, in the genuine West Highlanders, we shall find such 
a combination of these characters, as to shew them to be well 
fitted to the country in which they are reared. Their limbs 
are short, though muscular, their chests wide and deep, their 
ribs well arched, and their backs as straight as in any other 
breed. The neck, indeed, and dewlap, seem somewhat coarse 
in the bull, but these are characters indicative of their moun- 
tain state ; and almost all their other points are what breeders 
would term good. They are of various colours. A disposi- 
tion exists in the breeders of the Highlands to cultivate the 
black colour, as conceiving it to be more indicative of hardi- 
ness; and hence the greater number of the cattle of the High- 
lands are black. But the brown colour, or the mixed black 
and brown, or the mouse-dun, are yet more generally indica- 
tive of a disposition to fatten. The brown is attended with 
that orange tone of the skin which is valued in other breeds, 
as the Pembroke and the Devon ; and there is a constant ten- 
dency in the best bred cattle of the Highlands to assume it. 
The breeders, therefore, should look to the essential charac- 
ters of form, without limiting themselves to a black colour 
of the hair, which is a property altogether secondary. 

The Cows of this breed, like those of many alpine districts, 
are deficient in the power of yielding milk. The milk they 
give is rich in cream, but it is in small quantity ; and they 
very quickly tend to run dry. They are usually allowed to 
suckle their own young, and often manifest the wildness of 
their race, by refusing to yield milk, and quickly running 
dry, unless their young be suffered to suck them. 

Attempts have" been sometimes made to cross this breed 
with the cattle of the lower country, with the Ayrshire, and 

304 THE OX. 

even with the Short-horns. Fine animals are produced by 
first crosses of this kind ; and many of the fat oxen sent to 
be exhibited at cattle-shows are thus obtained. But the 
benefit may be said to end with the first cross : the future 
progeny is inferior to either of the parent races ; to the larger 
cattle of the plains in their peculiar characters, and to the 
mountain breed in their adaptation to a steril country. 
Every consideration, therefore, founded on our knowledge of 
the character of the animals, and the nature of their country, 
indicates the propriety of maintaining the purity of the race 
of the Highlands, and calling forth its useful properties by 
careful breeding. Over all the Northern and Central High- 
lands, a vast scope for beneficial improvement is open ; and 
no easier method of effecting it presents itself, than the ob- 
taining of Bulls from those districts where circumstances 
have enabled the breeders to bring them to the greatest per- 
fection of form. 


The Pembroke Breed of Cattle is proper to the county of 
that name, which occupies the south-western extremity of 
the principality. But the breed extends to all the neigh- 
bouring districts, and may be said to be the type of the whole 
Mountain Breeds of Wales. It has been seen that the 
White Forest Breed, by the mere change of colour, becomes 
similar to the modern Pembrokes, and is indeed identical 
with them. The latter possess the distinctive horns of the 
Wild Breed, and the yellow unctuous skin which character- 
izes it. The horns are fine, tapering, turned upwards at the 
points, and tipped with black, and the yellowness of the 
skin appears as a deep orange, nearly black, on the inside of 
the ears, the mammae, and other naked parts. The skin is 
soft, and well covered with hair,* a character which always 
indicates a humid climate. The colour preferred by the 


breeders is black, and, in breeding, they adhere strictly to 
this colour. They regard a mixture of white as a mark of 
impurity, though it is manifest that it is not so. but a ten- 
dency to the original character of the race. The size of the 
Pembroke Cattle is that of the larger class of the breed of 
the West Highlands of Scotland. They have naturally a 
light hind- quarter, which is a character common to other 
mountain breeds ; but this is a defect which a due attention 
to breeding corrects. Their flesh is excellent, the fat being 
well mixed with the muscular parts. They produce a large 
quantity of tallow, a.nd, on this account, are esteemed by the 
butchers ; and great numbers of them are fattened in the 
rich valley of the Severn, and elsewhere, for the supply of 
the market of London. They are hardy, and subsist well on 
scanty food : they are tolerably good feeders, to use the 
technical term ; and soon assume an appearance of maturity 
and age. The females have fair milking qualities, and the 
cows are accordingly esteemed in all parts of Wales for the 
domestic dairy. The dark orange colour of the skin, ap- 
proaching to black, is deemed an important indication of the 
milking properties of the cow. 

The Pembroke has been sometimes crossed by the Devon 
and the Hereford breeds ; but a just estimation of the cha- 
racters of the former, will shew the error of this species of 
intermixture. The Pembroke is truly a Mountain Breed, 
and well adapted to the situations in which it is acclimated ; 
and a mixture of foreign blood takes from its hardiness, and 
fitness for a country of mountains and scanty herbage. 

The other races of the Welsh mountains have more or less 
of an affinity with the Pembroke, and exhibit the traces of a 
common origin*; but they are most of them smaller in size, 
lighter in the hind-quarters, and otherwise of inferior form. 
Such are those of Caernarvon and Merioneth, which are 
uncultivated in a high degree. The best method of improv- 
ing these neglected breeds would be crossing with the ge- 
nuine Pembroke. 

306 THE OX. 

Anglesea is a low insular tract of North Wales, about 
twenty-four miles by seventeen, separated from Caernarvon 
by a narrow strait of the sea. It produces the grasses, but 
yet is of only moderate fertility. It rears a considerable 
number of cattle, which used to be forced to swim across 
the Straits of Menai, until the noble iron-bridge which now 
connects the island with the main was formed. During this 
transit, the younger cattle were often carried several miles 
by the current, or drifted seaward ; and yet the Roman 
cavalry swam across this strait, when, under Paulinus Sue- 
tonius, they attacked this last stronghold of British liberty 
and Druidical worship. The native cattle of this island are 
allied, in their essential characters, to the Pembroke breed, 
and manifest a common origin ; but they are of larger size 
and coarser form, having acquired the characters suited to a 
lower country. The genuine Angleseas are distinguishable 
by the upright position of the horns, and the orange-yellow 
colour of the skin. This breed has been much mixed with 
Long-horns, chiefly from Ireland ; and various attempts have 
been made by individuals to improve the breed by crosses of 
different kinds. These attempts seem to have been made 
without system, perseverance, or knowledge of the charac- 
ters of the native race. They may be said to have produced 
no beneficial effect upon the cattle of the country, the best 
of which are manifestly those which approach the nearest to 
the ancient type. The main end to be aimed at in the im- 
provement of the breed of Anglesea, is to remove that coarse- 
ness of form which is characteristic of the race ; and this 
could be effected by a fitting selection of individuals for 
breeding, from the best and purest of the native stock. 

Another and important breed of Wales is the Glamorgan ; 
but the improved Glamorgans are to be ranked with the 
larger oxen of the plains, rather than with those of the 
mountains. They will be treated of in the sequel, along 
with the Herefords, and other breeds of the lower country. 

The parent stock of the Mountain Breeds of Wales, it has 


been seen, is distinguished by a tapering upright horn. As 
the mountainous country passes by gradations into the lower, 
the cattle deviate from the native type, and assume insen- 
sibly the character of what are termed Long-horns. This 
character is indicated by the direction as well as by the length 
of the horn. It may be considered as a character connected 
with that thickness of skin which the Ox, under certain cir- 
cumstances of feeding and treatment, tends to assume ; for 
the corneous system, as could be shewn, is intimately con- 
nected with the cuticular. It is the character which a very 
large proportion of the oxen of these Islands had acquired ; 
and, accordingly, of the breeds of this country, the Long- 
horned, as will afterwards be seen, were the most numerous. 
They formerly extended over all the midland counties of 
England, and the plains of Ireland. It is this tendency of 
the oxen in the central parts of Wales to assume the Long- 
horned character, as well as actual intermixture with the 
breeds of the plains, that produces that mixture of races 
which is to be seen in the country. These mixed races are 
generally of coarse and defective form, and greatly inferior, 
as fattening animals, to those which approach the nearest 
to the parent stock. 

Although Wales is generally a country of mountains, in 
which the animals reared must mainly depend on the natural 
pastures, yet it is intersected by many fertile vales, and often 
the mountains pass by degrees into the richer plains of the 
lower country. In such cases, it is not required that breed- 
ers should confine themselves to the smaller cattle of the 
mountains. They may adopt the breeds which their respec- 
tive localities enable them to maintain, as the Durham, the 
Hereford, and the superior class of Glamorgans. In this 
case, their own judgments must guide them in the selec- 
tion of the kinds of animals best suited to the nature of 
their respective farms. But, in general, the breeders of 
Wales would do well to avoid that system of indiscriminate 
crossing and changing, which prevails in so many parts of 

308 THE ox. 

the country. A true breed, it is to be observed, is never 
to be formed by casual crossing, but by long perseverance in 
breeding from similar animals, until a uniform class of cha- 
racters is acquired and rendered permanent. For this rea- 
son, it is generally better to adopt a good breed already 
formed, than to attempt to produce a new one by a mixture 
of the blood of dissimilar animals. 

The Pembroke Breed is well adapted to all the moun- 
tainous parts of Wales ; and it is important that it should be 
cultivated with care. It is not necessary that the breeders 
resort to other races for its improvement. They have merely 
to apply those principles of selection, which in all other cases 
have been successful, to render the breed good with relation 
to the circumstances in which it is reared. 

The district of Castle-Martin is that from which the finest 
of the Pembrokes are at present derived. The breeders in 
this district strictly adhere to the black colour, which has 
become at length regarded as indicative of the purity of the 
breed. This colour has, indeed, no necessary connexion with 
the really useful properties of the animals ; but having be- 
come a test of the purity of the breed, both on the part of 
the producers and consumers, it is to be believed that the 
character will, on this account, be preserved, just, as in the 
case of the North Devon s, the red colour is retained as 
an index of the purity of descent. The breeders of the 
Castle-Martins, however, have fortunately not confined their 
attention to the secondary character of colour. They have 
devoted assiduous care to the really useful characters of the 
breed. Preserving its essential characteristics, they have 
removed the too great lightness of the hinder quarters, and 
given that general symmetry of form, which experience shews 
to have an intimate connexion with the economical proper- 
ties of all animals cultivated for human food. 



The native breeds of Irish cattle may be divided into those 
of the mountains, moors, and bogs, and those of the richer 
plains, with intermixed breeds resulting from the union of 
different races, foreign or native. The mountain breeds ap^ 
proach to the characters of the ancient White Forest Breed, 
in a sufficiently near degree to indicate a common descent 
with the cattle of the mountains of Scotland and Wales, and 
the high lands of Devon. 

Of the native breeds of Ireland, one very peculiar and 
well denned is derived from the mountainous county of Kerry, 
the most westerly land in Europe, and remarkable for the 
humidity of its climate. The Kerry cattle of the mountains 
are generally black, with a white ridge along the spine, a 
character agreeing with the account which older writers have 
given of the Uri of the woods of Poland. They have often 
also a white streak upon the belly, but they are of various 
colours, as black, brown, and mixed black and white, or black 
and brown. Their horns are fine, long, and turned upward 
at the points. Their skins are soft and unctuous, and of a 
fine orange tone, which is visible about the eyes, the ears, 
and the muzzle. Their eyes are lively and bright, and, 
although their size is diminutive, their shape is good. 

These cattle are hardy, and capable of subsisting on scanty 
fare. Although stunted in size when brought from the bogs 
and barren pastures on which they are reared, they make a 
wonderful advance in size, even though seven years old, when 
supplied with suitable food. The fat of their beef is well 
mixed with the muscular parts, or, in technical language, 
marbled ; and they fatten well in the inside, a character 
which renders them valuable to the butcher, and distinguishes 
them in a remarkable degree from the Long-horned Breeds 
of the lower country. 

But the peculiar value of the Kerry Breed is the adapta- 

310 THE OX. 

tion of the females to the purposes of the domestic dairy. In 
milking properties, the Kerry Cow, taking size into account, 
is equal or superior to any in the British Islands. It is the 
large quantity of milk yielded by an animal so small, which 
renders the Kerry Cows so generally valued by the cottagers 
and smaller tenants of Ireland. She is frequently termed 
the Poor Man's Cow, and she merits this appellation by her 
capacity of subsisting on such fare as he has the means to 

This fine little breed has been greatly neglected. Scarcely 
any means have been used to produce a progressive develop- 
ment of form, by supplying proper nourishment to the breed- 
ing parents and the young, and no general care has been be- 
stowed on preserving the purity of the stock. In almost 
every part of Ireland the breed has been crossed with the 
Long-horns, and a great proportion of the Cows of the country 
known under the name of Kerries, are the result of crosses 
of this kind, and so have deviated in a greater or less degree 
from the native type, and almost always for the worse. 

A few honourable exceptions, however, exist to this too 
general neglect of the mountain dairy breed of Ireland. One 
attempt had succeeded to such a degree as to form a new 
breed, which partially exists with the characters communi- 
cated to it. It has been termed the Dexter Breed. It was 
formed by the late Mr Dexter, agent to Maude Lord Haw- 
warden. This gentleman is said to have produced his curious 
breed by selection from the best of the mountain cattle of the 
district. He communicated to it a remarkable roundness of 
form and shortness of legs. The steps, however, by which 
this improvement was effected, have not been sufficiently re- 
corded, and some doubt may exist whether the original was 
the pure Kerry, or some other breed proper to the central 
parts of Ireland now unknown, or whether some foreign blood, 
as the Dutch, was not mixed with the native race. One 
character of the Dexter Breed is frequently observed in cer- 
tain cattle of Ireland, namely, short legs, and a small space 


from the knee and hock to the hoofs. This has probably 
given rise to a saying sometimes heard, of " Tipperary beef 
down to the heels." However the Dexter Breed has been 
formed, it still retains its name, and the roundness and depth 
of carcass which distinguished it. When any individual of 
a Kerry drove appears remarkably round and short-legged, 
it is common for the country people to call it a Dexter. 
Amongst the successful cultivators of the dairy breed of Ire- 
land ought to be mentioned the late Bishop of Killaloe. He 
sedulously endeavoured to preserve and improve a breed 
which he conceived to be so useful to the peasantry of Ire- 
land ; but his example has scarcely spread amongst other 
breeders of the country. 

The Kerry Cows afford admirable first crosses with the 
Short-horns, Herefords, and other larger breeds. Of these 
crosses, that with the Short-horns is the most general, and 
appears to be the best. The crosses, are found to be well 
adapted to fattening, as well as to the dairy ; and the profit 
from this system is so immediate, that it is to be believed 
that it will be more largely resorted to than a progressive 
improvement of the parent stock. Nevertheless, the cultiva- 
tion of the pure dairy breed of the Kerry mountains ought 
not to be neglected by individuals or public associations. 
The breed is yet the best that is. reared over a large extent 
of country, from its adaptation to the existing state of agri- 
culture, and to the humid mountains and bogs in which it is 
naturalized. Were it to be reared with care in a good dis- 
trict, the form would be gradually more developed, and the 
Kerry breed might then bear the same relation to the moun- 
tain breeds of Ireland which the Castle-Martin does to those 
of Wales, or the West Highland to those of the north of 

312 THE OX, 


The country from which this breed of cattle is derived is 
the tract of Old Red Sandstone which forms the plains and 
less elevated parts of the counties of Forfar and Kincardine. 
This tract of country is of varying fertility, has long been 
enclosed, and is now extensively applied to a mixed system 
of tillage and grazing, and, in a peculiar degree, to the pro- 
duction of turnips. The breed of cattle is to be regarded as 
one of those races which are intermediate between the races 
of the mountains and those of the richer plains. The older 
breed of the district was horned, but with a tendency, it may 
be believed, to assume the hornless character. But, however 
this be, the hornless variety ultimately became the predomi- 
nant one, and is now to be regarded as the cultivated breed 
of the district. The animals are termed by the country 
people dodded, and sometimes humbled, cattle. Attention 
seems to have been especially devoted to them as a separate 
variety soon after the American war, when the agriculture 
of this part of Scotland began a course of rapid improvement. 
During the war with France, the cultivation and improve- 
ment of them continually extended, and numbers of them 
were driven to the English markets under the name of Gal- 
loways, which they resembled in their aspect and general 
character. There has been ever since a large exportation of 
them to Yorkshire, Norfolk, Leicester, and other grazing 
counties, where they are fattened for a longer or shorter time 
according to their condition. They find their way in num- 
bers to Smithfield, and form a part of the consumption of 
the capital. 

This breed has a certain resemblance to the Galloway, and 
a mixture of blood seems to have taken place between them ; 
but the cattle are less compact in form, and longer in their 
limbs, than the true Galloways, and have not the depth of rib 
so characteristic of the latter breed. But the Angus, living 


in a less humid climate, being subjected to more artificial 
treatment, and being less exposed, accordingly, to the incle- 
mency of the weather, have a finer though not a softer skin, 
and a less rough coat of hair, than the Galloway. They are 
better treated when calves, and during the whole period of 
their growth ; and, though less uniform and confirmed in their 
characters than the Galloways, owe more to art and careful 
culture. Finer animals have been produced, by the care of 
distinguished breeders, in Forfarshire than in Galloway, 
though those of the latter district have the advantage de- 
rived from a country of milder temperature, and more pro- 
ductive of the natural grasses. The Angus are better milkers 
than the Galloway, though the dairy does not form an object 
of especial attention in the district. 

The Angus are of different colours, but are mostly black, 
with white marks. Many of them are brindled, as it is term- 
ed, or a mixture of black and brown with different shades. 
The Angus breeders prefer the black, without confining them- 
selves with the same rigidity as the breeders of Galloway to 
that colour. The breeders of both districts would do well 
to disregard this secondary character of colour, and look 
solely to the form and superior fattening powers of the indi- 

The Angus breed has recently been much extended in the 
north of Scotland, and is justly gaining preponderance over 
the native cattle of some of the districts adjoining. The coun- 
try which it inhabits, from its excellent state of cultivation, is 
suited to maintain any race of cattle, and the Short-horned 
breed has accordingly been introduced, and may be expected 
to gain on the native race. The interests of breeders them- 
selves will determine, in the several cases that may arise, 
when the preference should be given to the native, and when- 
to the imported, breed. 

An error regarding the value of the different breeds of 
cattle may be here noticed. Over a great part of this coun- 
try the fattening of cattle is not the purpose of the breeder. 

314 THE OX. 

He rears the cattle to the age which consists with the nature 
of his farm, and then disposes of them to another class of 
traders, who fit them for ultimate consumption. Vast num- 
bers of cattle are reared in the mountainous and less fertile 
districts and farms, and then transferred to the lower coun- 
try and richer farms to be fattened for use. This species of 
transfer is continually going on, and constitutes a great part 
of the trade in cattle in the British Islands ; and much of the 
profit of graziers and others depends on the skill with which, 
on the one hand, the purchases are made, and, on the other, 
on the manner in which the processes of grazing and fatten- 
ing are carried on. The person who purchases lean stock 
for fattening may often be better paid by the smaller cattle 
than by the larger and finer ; that is, he may receive a larger 
return from the capital laid out. But it were an error on 
this account to say, that the one breed is equal or supe- 
rior to the other. The value of a breed is not determined 
by the profit which persons may obtain by purchasing, but 
by the nett produce derived from the animals from the period 
of birth to that of maturity. An Ox that, at the age of two 
years' old, can be fattened to the weight of sixty stones and 
upwards, like those of the Short-horned breed, is regarded 
as a more valuable animal than one that would require three 
or more years to be fattened to the same weight. The Angus 
is a good breed, well adapted to the natural and acquired 
fertility of a great tract of country ; but it cannot be brought 
to the same weight of muscle, and degree of fatness, and in 
the same period of time, as the Short-horns and Herefords. 
The latter, therefore, form the more valuable breeds, in the 
sense in which the term valuable is here employed. In like 
manner, the Short-horned and Herefords are said to be supe- 
rior in value as breeds to the West Highland, though the 
latter is immeasurably superior to the others in adaptation 
to the countries in which it is naturalized, and may be equally 
a subject of profitable trade to the grazier and feeder. When 
we employ the term valuable, then, in the abstract, with re- 


lation to a breed, it must be understood as denoting the qua- 
lity of reaching to the greatest weight of muscle, and degree 
of fatness, in the shortest time, and with the least consump- 
tion of food, and not the adaptation of the race to peculiar 
localities, or the profit that may be derived between the 
periods of buying and selling. These considerations kept in 
mind, may prevent some of those disputes which sometimes 
arise between persons contending for the relative superiority 
of their respective breeds of animals. 

Sometimes the Angus breed has been crossed with the 
Short-horned, and in this way very fine animals, superior to 
the native race, have been produced : but the benefit ends in 
a great degree with the first cross ; and the subsequent pro- 
geny is inferior to the pure Short-horns in size and tendency 
to fatten, and to the indigenous stock in hardiness and adapta- 
tion to rough treatment. The safer course, therefore, to pur- 
sue, is to preserve the two breeds distinct and pure. Where 
the condition of farms, or the wishes of breeders, induce the 
adoption of the Short-horned breed, this ought to be cul- 
tivated in its state of purity ; where other circumstances 
exist, the native breed should be preserved unmixed, care 
being used to call forth its useful properties by proper feed- 
ing, and due attention to the selection of the breeding parents. 


The county of Aberdeen, covering nearly a sixteenth part 
of the entire surface of North Britain, produces numerous 
cattle which have long been a staple production of the dis- 
trict, for the consumption of the towns, and for exportation 
to the markets of the south. This extensive county consists 
essentially of gneiss and granite, but presents great diversity 
of surface, from the lofty mountains of the south-west and 
west, some of whose summits rise nearly to the region of 
perpetual congelation, to the sheltered valleys of the rivers, 

316 TILE OX. 

and the lower grounds of the coasts. But, generally, the 
county of Aberdeen may be described as being rocky, barren 
of soil in most parts, and interspersed with great tracts of 
peat, covering the site of those noble forests which once over- 
spread this part of Scotland. The cattle vary with place, 
and the natural or acquired fertility of the parts where they 
have been naturalized. In the higher and wilder districts 
inland, they are identical with those of the Central High- 
lands ; and even in the lower country, where a mixture of 
blood has taken place, their characters evince that the parent 
stock has been that of the Highland mountains. But in the 
cultivated country, they have become enlarged in size with 
the progress of cultivation, and altered in their characters 
by the admixture of other races. Up to a late period in the 
last century, all the principal labours of tillage in this part of 
Scotland were performed by oxen, which caused the farmers 
to cultivate size and strength as a property of their cattle, 
and to resort to the richer districts southward for larger ani- 
mals than their own district produced, and especially to the 
eastern part of Fifeshire, where the Falkland breed was 
reared. Although the cattle of the lower parts of Aberdeen- 
shire became, from these causes, enlarged in size, they long 
remained of bad form, having thick skins, long horns, and 
coarse extremities. With the progress of improvement, how- 
ever, during the present century, a variety has been culti- 
vated and widely extended, now generally termed the Polled 
Aberdeenshire Breed, in which the absence of horns may be 
ascribed in part to the introduction of the hornless cattle of 
other districts, but mainly to the breeding from animals of 
the native stock which possessed this peculiarity, in prefer- 
ence to those having the long horns characteristic of the 
older race. This modern variety, however, scarcely even yet 
presents that uniformity of characters which constitutes a 
true breed, although it is continually approaching to this 
condition, in consequence of increased attention to breeding, 
and more extended intercourse between the different parts of 


the country. The individuals are of better form than the 
older race, and generally of larger size, weighing upon a me- 
dium when fat, at the age of four years, from forty-seven to 
sixty stones English. They are rarely fattened at an earlier 
age than four years, when they are valued by the butchers 
for the manner in which they cut up, and the comparative 
absence of coarser parts. Although improved, and conti- 
nually improving, they are yet, with respect to form, and 
tendency to fatten at an early age, greatly short of the per- 
fection to which they are capable of being brought. 

Into this district, as into most others where artificial food 
can be raised in sufficient quantity, the Short-horned breed 
has been introduced. It is cultivated by several breeders in 
the pure state ; but more generally it is made to cross the 
native stock, by which means a present profit is obtained. 
But, from the nature of the far greater part of the district, 
the importance will appear of carefully preserving the native 
stock, and communicating to it those properties of form which 
it is capable of receiving. 

Extending from Aberdeenshire northwards to the Pentland 
Firth, is an extensive tract of country, more or less fertile 
and improved, lying between the sea and the great moun- 
tains of the Highlands. The cattle of this extensive district 
are of mixed blood, and rarely present such uniform charac- 
ters as to allow them to be classed as true breeds. They 
have long been undergoing progressive changes, by the in- 
creased attention paid to the selection of superior animals for 
breeding, and latterly by the partial introduction of the Tees- 
water Short-horns. 


The district termed Galloway forms the termination on 
the west of the range of greywacke hills, which stretch from 

318 THE OX. 

St Abb's Head, on the east coast, to the North Irish Chan- 
nel. It comprehends the modern counties of Wigton and 
Kirkcudbright, but formerly included, and still does so in 
popular language, a portion of the shires of Ayr and Dum- 
fries. The general character of the district is moist. The 
winters are more temperate than on the eastern coasts, snow 
does not remain long upon the ground, and the soil tends to 
produce the grasses, rushes, and other herbaceous plants, 
rather than the heaths. This district has long produced 
great numbers of cattle, which have acquired a distinct class 
of characters. 

The breed of Galloway is properly one of the mountains 
rather than of the lower country, and its characters adapt it 
well to the degree of productiveness of the district, the nature 
of its agriculture, and the humidity of the climate. The 
cattle are of larger size than those of the Highlands of Scot- 
land, but smaller than the breeds of the plains. Their ave- 
rage dead weight, when fat, at three years' old, may be 
reckoned about 45 stones, of 14 Ib. to the stone : those sold 
in London at the age of nearly four, weigh from 55 to 60 
stones. The skins are thick, though soft to the touch, and 
the hair is long and soft. The predominant colour is black, 
the breeders preferring that colour, and regarding it as in- 
dicative of hardiness and purity of blood. The form of the 
body of these cattle is compact, the limbs are short and fleshy 
to the knee and hock, the chest is moderately deep, the throat 
is furnished with a dewlap, and the neck is somewhat coarse. 
The sides are very long, and this character distinguishes the 
breed. The " Galloway rib" is well known in Smithfield, 
and the general form of the animal is valued by the butchers. 
These cattle are hardy, exceedingly docile, sufficiently good 
feeders, when carried to suitable pastures, and weigh well 
in proportion to their bulk ; and they produce beef, which is 
esteemed in the English markets, on account of the fat being 
well mixed with the muscular parts. Hector Boece, who 


wrote in the 16th century, speaking of the cattle of Galloway, 
says, " In this region ar mony fair ky and oxin, of quhilk the 
flesh is right delicius and tender." 

The cows are indifferent milkers, and soon run dry. In 
this respect they resemble other mountain breeds of Scot- 
land. The character may be partly the result of breeding, 
the care of the breeders of the district having been always 
directed to the grazing, and not to the milking, properties ; 
but the milk, though comparatively small in quantity, is rich 
in cream. 

A remarkable character of this breed is the absence of 
horns in the male and female. It is said that the older breed 
of Galloway, as it existed in the middle of last century, 
possessed horns ; but this is not perfectly ascertained, and 
some earlier notices rather conduct us to the conclusion, that 
the absence of horns has been for a much longer period a 
distinctive character of the race. It may be either due to 
the physical circumstances of the country, which produce 
this constitutional character, or to the effects of selection in 
breeding, or to a combination of these causes. If the consti- 
tutional tendency existed, it was easy for breeders, by breed- 
ing only from animals destitute of horns, to render all the 
breed hornless. Sometimes, even yet, the horns are developed 
in individuals, and, as this is regarded, erroneously indeed, 
as a test of impurity, they are cut out. In a few cases the 
development of the horns is partial : the nucleus or bony 
part is wanting, but the horny part has been formed, and 
hangs loose on the skin. 

The trade in cattle between Galloway and England appears 
to have begun soon after the union of the two Crowns, and 
for upwards of 150 years has been regular and extensive. 
It is computed that upwards of 20,000 head are annually 
exported from the district, of which from 16,000 to 18,000 
are sold at Smithfield ; but it is probable that the total ex- 
port exceeds the quantity mentioned. They are reared to 
the age of two or three years on the farms of the country, 

320 THE OX. 

and are driven southward, mostly in the latter part of the 
season, and chiefly to the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. 
They are purchased by the English graziers, wintered on 
straw, hay, and green food, and fattened on the grass of the 
following season, and driven to Smithfield, supplying a large 
part of the consumption of the city from Christmas to July. 
They are well known, accordingly, in this great market, and 
are greatly valued by butchers and consumers. A number 
are likewise fattened in the lower parts of Dumfriesshire, 
and indeed, over a great part of that extensive county, the 
prevailing breed has hitherto been the Galloway. But for 
many years the Ayrshire breed has been gaining ground in 
Dumfriesshire with the progress of the dairy, and in some 
cases the Short-horns have been introduced. 

In Galloway proper, the management of the cattle when 
young is rude, but suited to the character of the district. 
The calves are generally permitted to suck the dams, are 
fed on the coarse herbage of the country, left a great part of 
the winter in the fields, or kept on straw or coarse hay. The 
production of corn in the district is limited, and is regarded 
as subordinate to the purpose of producing straw for the 
stock. The habit of trading in cattle was very general 
amongst the farmers of Galloway, and gave rise to a spirit of 
speculation which was somewhat unfavourable to the pursuit 
of regular agriculture. The farmers are still in the practice 
of attending markets, and making purchases and sales of 
cattle, with the view of a profit on the transfers. The great 
trade, however, is in the hands of the Norfolk and Suffolk 
drovers, who used to settle with the owners by bills, which 
was attended with hazard to the sellers, and was sometimes 
productive of great losses to the district. The practice of 
spaying the heifers prevails to a greater extent in Galloway 
than in any part of the kingdom. The operation used to be 
performed at the age of twelve months, but is now very gene- 
rally done at two months. The greater part of those that 
are not retained for breeding are thus treated. Those heifers 



do not quite attain the size of oxen, but they are regarded 
as better suited for fattening, and their beef is reckoned 
more delicate, and brings, accordingly, a somewhat higher 
price. The practice, however, though it may be justified on 
these grounds, is unfavourable to the improvement of the 
breed, by limiting the number of females, from which a selec- 
tion may be made for breeding. 

Extensive as has been the trade in this staple production 
of the country, it was long before any thing like attention-to 
the principles of breeding was given by the farmers. Not- 
withstanding the spirited efforts of individuals, the stock of 
the country was treated with much neglect, with relation to 
the preserving and improving of the breed. The bulls were 
almost always defective in essential points, and an injurious 
mixture had progressively taken place with cattle from Ire- 
land, 10,000 and more of which are supposed to pass every 
year through the country, by way of Donaghadee and Port- 
Patrick. Efforts have, from time to time, been made to 
cross the breed by the Dishley Long-horns, the Ayrshire, 
and the modern Short-horns. These attempts, it is believed, 
have been all failures, in so far as they were designed to im- 
prove the general breed of the country ; and modern breed- 
ers, with better knowledge, have turned their attention to 
the improvement of the existing race. In this field there is 
a wide scope for the exertion of individuals, and, if steadily 
pursued, the system cannot but be attended with beneficial 
results. The breed of Galloway is peculiarly confirmed in 
its characters, and thoroughly adapted to the condition of 
the country ; and all that is wanted to promote its progres- 
sive amelioration, is a careful selection of suitable males and 
females for breeding, with that due attention to early and 
liberal feeding of the young stock, which, in every case, 
tends to the production of superior animals. If, on any par- 
ticular farm, another race of cattle can be reared, as the 
Short-horns, let this stock be substituted ; but it would be 
an error to attempt a mixture of blood with the race so 


322 THE OX. 

long acclimated, and so excellent in itself, as that of Gal- 
loway. The great advantage of having a breed possessing 
uniformity, is manifest in Galloway, as in every country 
where a race with determined characters exists. The breeder 
has always in such a case the assurance of being able to 
reproduce in the offspring the essential properties of the 
parents ; whereas, in countries where no uniform breed has 
been established, he never can be so assured of the result of 
coupling animals together. The cattle of Galloway, though 
they have all the characters of resemblance which constitute 
a breed, yet vary greatly in size and form, according to the 
fertility, natural or acquired, of the farms on which they are 
reared, shewing the importance of providing an increase of 
food for the animals when growing in bone and muscle. One 
of the great defects, at the present time, over a large part of 
Galloway, is the not supplying the growing stock with suffi- 
cient food. 


The Polled Suffolk Breed is usually termed the Suffolk 
Dun, from the county of Suffolk, where it is found in the 
greatest numbers, and from the mouse-dun colour which was 
once the prevailing one of the breed. Although termed Suf- 
folk, the breed extends over Norfolk, Cambridge, and a part 
of Essex, where it either remains pure, or has been mixed 
in blood with other races. In Smithfield, the fattened cattle, 
whether of pure or mixed lineage, receive the name of Home- 

The Polled Suffolk cattle are, as the name denotes, desti- 
tute of horns. They are mostly of small size, and of defec- 
tive form, when we regard them as animals to be fattened. 
The characteristic colour of the older breed was a mouse- 
dun, or some shade approaching to that colour; but now 
they are generally reddish-brown, or brown mixed with 


white. The general form of the unmixed race is uncouth ; 
the head is heavy, and the extremities are coarse. The belly 
is large, and the back narrow, which gave occasion to Bake- 
well to observe of them, that they were too like a^ penthouse- 
top, and would do very well if turned upside down. The 
cows have the udders very large, with the subcutaneous ab- 
dominal vein prominent, a character which always indicates 
the power of the female to yield much milk. Nearly a cen- 
tury ago, the cows were described as having " the carcasses 
large, the belly heavy, the back-bone ridged, the chine thin 
and hollow, and the loin narrow." With the exception of 
the narrowness of the loin, this description applies truly to 
such of the descendants of the older breeds as remain un- 
mixed. They are found in the greatest purity and numbers 
in the middle division of the county of Suffolk, where numer- 
ous dairies are established. This may be regarded as the 
central habitation of the breed, its characters changing as 
we recede from this district. About Ipswich, and southward 
to the coast, the animals are larger, and of coarser bone, 
retaining, however, the conformation and colour distinctive 
of the breed. In Cambridge and Essex, they exhibit a greater 
or smaller degree of departure from the parent type. In 
Norfolk, they are mixed in blood with an older race, distin- 
guished by small upright horns, which has now disappeared, 
either by the substitution of the pure Suffolk, or by the effects 
of crossing. 

The breed was probably formed at an early period, its pe- 
culiarities having arisen from the attention of breeders being 
mainly directed to the fitness of the animals for the dairy. 
Camden thus describes the county of Suffolk between two 
and three centuries ago : " A large country it is, and full of 
havens, of a fat and fertile soil (unlesse it be eastward), being 
compounded (as it is) of clay and marie ; by meanes whereof, 
there are in every place most rich and goodly corne fields, 
with pastures as battable for grazing and feeding of cattell. 
And great store of cheeses are there made, which, to the 

324 THE OX. 

great commodity of the inhabitants are vented into all parts 
of England, nay into Germanie, France, and Spaine also, as 
Pantaleon, the Phisitian writeth, who stucke not to compare 
these of ours, for colour and tast both, with those of Placen- 
tia." * And Speed, who wrote in 1676, thus speaks of the 
productions of the same part of England : " The commodi- 
ties of this shire are many and great, whereof the chiefest 
consist in corn, cattle, cloth, pasturage, woods, sea-fish and 
fowle ; and as Abbo Floricensis hath depainted, This country 
is of green and passing fresh hue, pleasantly replenished 
with orchards, gardens, and groves : Thus he described it 
above six hundred years since, and now we find as he hath 
said ; to which we may add their gain from the pail." | 
These notices suffice to shew that it is long since a breed of 
cattle suited to the uses of the dairy had been established in 
the county of Suffolk. Some, judging from the absence of 
horns, and the size and general aspect of the animals, have 
imagined that the Polled Suffolk is a variety of the Galloway 
breed of Scotland, introduced into this part of England by 
the long intercourse between the Scotch breeders and the 
Suffolk and Norfolk graziers. The Polled Suffolk, however, 
has as much the characteristics of a distinct native breed as 
the Galloway itself. The individuals differ from the Gallo- 
ways in the colour of the skin and hair, in the muscular de- 
velopment of the neck and shoulders, which are naturally 
large in the Galloway, but thin in the Polled Suffolk, in the 
smaller depth of the ribs, and in the superior milking pro- 
perties of the females. 

The Polled Suffolk breed is regarded as hardy to the de- 
gree of bearing careless treatment* and subsisting on in- 
different food ; and the cows are noted, as in former times, 
for the large quantity of milk which they yield, in proportion 
to their size and the food consumed. It is this property 

* Camden's Britannia, translated newly into English by Philemon Holland, 
Doctour in Physick 1610. 

t Speed's Theatre of the Emph-e of Great Britain. 


which gives its real value to the breed, which otherwise could 
not have maintained itself in a fertile district, amidst all the 
improvement which the cattle of the country have undergone. 
Suffolk is still distinguished as a dairy district. The prin- 
cipal manufacture is butter, which finds a sale in London, 
and other markets. It also produces great quantities of 
skimmilk cheese ; which has given rise to the saying, that 
Suffolk produces the best butter and the worst cheese in 
England. From this kind of cheese being well suited to 
withstand the heat of warm countries, it was formerly largely 
employed in victualling the Navy. In consequence of the 
early attention paid to the produce of the dairy, it is easy to 
see that cows the best suited for that purpose would be 
sought for, in preference to those possessing the property of 
early fattening. The dairy farmers hold it sufficient to ob- 
tain a good Milch-Cow, and, accordingly, the only principle 
of choosing bulls is that of selecting those which possess the 
reputation of breeding a good dairy stock. This system 
being pursued for a long period, the result has been what 
our knowledge of the principles of breeding would lead us to 
expect. The characters which indicate a disposition to arrive 
at early maturity, and secrete fat, have been disregarded ; 
while those that indicate a disposition in the female to pro- 
duce abundant milk, have been alone valued. It is remarked 
by Arthur Young, that the Suffolk breed has been preserved 
by a kind of accident. This observation cannot be admitted 
to be just. The Suffolk breeders, indeed, may not have been 
guided by very fixed principles in the choice of animals, but 
they have followed a certain rude experience, which has led 
them to select such as were suited to their uses, and they 
acquired, accordingly, a race of animals admirably adapted 
to a particular end, however defective they may be in those 
other properties, which have long been desired by the breed- 
ers of the country. The Cows of Suffolk, though subjected 
to careless treatment, and supported on the most common 
kinds of food, are scarcely surpassed by any other in their 
power of yielding abundant milk. 

326 THE OX. 

It is a question of economical interest for an extensive, 
rich, and populous part of the country, whether the breed thus 
formed, during so many ages, should be preserved and improved 
on the present basis, or whether it should be abandoned for 
some other possessed of different properties ? Were the pro- 
duce of the dairy the sole end of farming in Suffolk, then, 
perhaps, no better course could be followed than to preserve 
the breed as it exists, confining attention to the removing of 
its more obvious defects. But Suffolk is not merely a dairy 
county, but, like every other in England, employs a large 
capital in grazing for the butcher ; and. therefore, it does not 
seem necessary or expedient to confine attention exclusively 
to a race of ill-formed animals, merely because they possess 
one property in perfection. This district is capable of rear- 
ing any of the superior breeds of the Island, and others, 
therefore, might be produced in it, combining a greater num- 
ber of useful qualities than the native race. But, looking to 
the actual state of Suffolk, as a district in which the hus- 
bandry of the dairy is extensively established, and success- 
fully pursued, it is rather to be regretted, that a race of cattle 
so well suited to the uses required, should have been so much 
neglected : for it is to be observed, that the forming of a good 
dairy breed is greatly more difficult than the procuring of 
one adapted to the purposes of the grazier. But the breed 
has been long decreasing in numbers and purity, and it is 
probable that it will ultimately be merged in races which are 
made to cross it. The Ayrshire has been introduced to a 
great extent into the district ; but though the Ayrshire is 
certainly a superior race to the Suffolk, for a combination of 
useful qualities, it is greatly to be doubted if it is equal to it 
in the power of yielding a large quantity of milk on indiffer- 
ent food. * 

Attempts have been made to improve the Polled Suffolk 
breed, for the purpose of rendering it suitable to the grazier 
as well as to the dairy. Mr Reeve of Weighton, near Wells, 
began a system of improvement of this kind more than fifty 
years ago. He adopted the practice of careful selection. 


confining himself, however, to a particular colour, which, in 
compliance with the popular opinion, was red, in place of the 
dun, more characteristic of the race. The stock acquired the 
conformation which he aimed at, and the property of arriving 
at more early maturity. His son-in-law, Mr England, pre- 
served, until a recent period, the same stock, and carefully 
cultivated the properties which it had acquired ; but, not- 
withstanding of the perfection to which Mr Reeve's stock 
had been brought, during a lifetime of attention, Mr England 
found it for his interest to abandon it, and adopt the Short- 
horned breed, as being more profitable. This, and other ex- 
periments, lead to the conclusion, that, though the Polled 
Suffolk is admirably adapted to the dairy, it does not form a 
good basis for a breed suited to the mixed purposes of the 
dairyman and the grazier. 


The Polled Irish Breed is a variety scarcely known to the 
breeders of England, but which, from its properties, deserved 
far more attention than it has received in the parts of the 
country where it had been naturalized. It has existed in 
Ireland for an unknown period, and appears to have been 
once widely diffused. It is now scattered throughout the 
country, but is only found in some numbers in the vale of 
Shannon. The cattle are of a light brownish colour, and 
destitute of horns, on which account they have been sup- 
posed to resemble the Suffolk Duns. But they are superior 
in size to the Suffolk Duns, equalling, in this respect, the 
larger class of Short-horns. The breed has been probably 
formed by an early mixture of Dutch cattle with some of the 
native races. It has been long diminishing in numbers, in 
consequence of the immediate profit derived by a first cross 
with the improved Short-horns. From this cause, and from 
long neglect, the Polled Irish Breed will probably, in a few 

328 THE OX. 

years, cease to be found. Had attention been directed at an 
earlier period to its preservation, Ireland might have now 
possessed a true Dairy Breed, not surpassed by any in the 


The peninsula of Fife, stretching into the German Ocean, 
between the noble estuaries of the Forth and Tay, has long 
been possessed of cattle of a larger size than those of the higher 
countries, and exhibiting such points of resemblance with 
one another, as to have acquired the appellation of a Breed. 
The existing cattle of Fifeshire, however, do not really con- 
stitute a breed or family. They are rather a mixture of 
breeds, the members of which are not so amalgamated with 
one another as to present a uniform class of characters. They 
vary greatly in size, aspect, and shape. Some have horns, 
and some are destitute of horns ; and, for the most part, they 
are of coarse angular forms. The prevailing colour is black, 
or black mixed with white. They are hardy, and subsist well 
on indifferent food, and the Cows are usually good milch ers. 
Like all the races of the lower country termed home-breds, 
they are slow in arriving at maturity, but the muscular sub- 
stance is well mixed with the fatty ; and as they produce 
a good proportion of internal fat, they are valued by th'e 
butchers in the markets to which they are carried. The 
mixture of races which exists in Fifeshire, is to be ascribed 
in part to the locality of the district, intermediate between 
the northern and southern divisions of Scotland, and in part 
to the condition of its agriculture up to a recent period. On 
the west and north-west, it lies in contact with a tract of 
country in which numbers of a kind of home-breds are rear- 
ed, and of which there has been long an influx into the richer 
parts of Fifeshire, for the purpose of being grazed. On the 
north, again, the country is only separated by the Frith of 


Tay from the breeding county of Forfar, from which numbers 
of cattle have been introduced ; and a general favour having 
existed in Fifeshire for hornless cattle, the Angus Breed has 
been largely mixed in blood with the native stock. The do- 
mestic dairy, too, having been extensively cultivated by the 
numerous smaller possessors of the district, Cows have been 
sought for possessed of the properties of good milchers, without 
relation to the breed, and thus Calves of a very mixed lineage 
have been continually reared, and mingled with the other 
varieties. Further, although the county of Fife was early 
noted in the history of Scotland for its populousness, and the 
number of its towns, its rural population has not, until lately, 
been very forward to introduce modern improvements. After 
the glorious peace of 1763, when every branch of industry in 
Scotland received a new impulse, Fife seemed rather to lan- 
guish. Its fisheries decayed, in consequence of the extension 
of the same branch of industry elsewhere ; its rich mines 
were not yet sufficiently called into operation, and the popu- 
lation of its numerous towns and hamlets shewed a tendency 
to decline, while a long period elapsed before its minutely- 
divided farms could be so united as to favour general im- 
provement. By the commencement of the present century, 
however, a great change had been effected in the condition 
of this as of other parts of North Britain ; but still the im- 
provement of its cattle did not advance in a corresponding 
degree, or rather they had been undergoing deterioration, 
by a continued departure from the type of the only really 
pure and valuable breed which the country produced. This 
breed was termed the Falkland, from the ancient royal manor 
of that name. 

.. The domain of Falkland, situated in the lower part of the 
vale of Eden, had early merged into the possessions of the 
powerful Earls of Fife, the descendants of that illustrious 
chief who, as Macduff the Thane, has had a memorial of his 
name bequeathed to every age, by the creative genius of 
poetry. In the reign of James I., all the possessions of this 

family wer<? forfeited to the er'/wn for mtdtij/Ji<id act* 

r* manor '/ Fa) k J and, with 
4 wxxU, and httttting^oand*, became the 

<f fttuark 
/ante* \\. wrt.'-. 
land, beatj*e, * tlie j/rem>;J^ of tite <4uir fttefe 

^itr^i/Ji/ atthewao/, iari^Mid 

'/I th< ; /J;,;;,;,^r; ;^,'J bMtfttfiM^MM fr'//;, tb<: w;xf,t of visual - 


;>r,/j ^JJ;ir,t. J;ir/;<:. J > . Huri/ij( th<: f '*?-// hri'rf y:;*r* ;i/:r;oH/^J 

vi er he reri/krr< - r. n.vJ .; bloody 

of 'Flodden, li wa the early re*kUftce, Iik<jwiws, of 

JMM* V,, v, . in father, 

a^e^ w,*nd, 

in /nor'; p:;;"*rf.J ti;n':... it, ^rr:rno ; fr<:^u* rrj t. r<;,irj<:r,^ ; r,f 

land li in from the domain* <*t, rendered 

/n<:nv/r;U<: hy th': ;ib'/;^ : of v, T n;ny j/nr,^:*., th;*t. th': l/rr:d 

Ikland caUJe beyond ft doubt origifiated, A tr/ 
ban been banded down, that V,, when he married 

along wit.b the dowry - -<f 800 

wh en<^j thei r descendants spread irrto the neighbouring eoun- 

t.ry. r l*hrr<: in nothing iiieonwirteiit with probahi). 

have been deem< 

!) tfi: ;- cast 


Otfcttdj MBfy rcceivcd numerous colonies of Flemings, 
and 1. A the opposite continent such an inter- 

- an the limited commerce of these rude times admit t< ; d. 

The Flemings and Hollanders were, even at this early period, 

for their Cows; and it i altogether probable that some 

of these animals were brought, to the royal park of Falkland, 

as something tliat was curious and useful. The ancient 

of Scotland it. is to be Obfifriwk IMM hffBMM JJivi 

breeders of the useful animals on the great scale, nearly all 
their housf .-hold rerenue being derived from the produce of 
their own domains. Of this, innumerable evidences are de- 
ri ved from the charters and other documents of our early 
history ; and it is reasonable to believe, that, during the fre- 
0,'jent residence of .the royal household at the rural retreat 

Ikland, cows, and the produce of the dairy, were not 

But however the dairy breed of Falkland found its way 

hether from England, or from the marshes of the 

S':h<:ldt and Rhine, it is manifest that it had been natural* 

at nor/jo ^arly p'.-rio'J in t\n-. \>\w. vvh^.-rr- its remains arc 
foun'i. L'nfoH.unat^ly, it. has hoon so mor^l in t.fio 
common races of the country, that individuals can now v/ith 

1 1 ty be obtained pure. It was of a black colour, marked 
often with white, and having the skin of an orange-yellow 
tinge. It had short and very white horns, turned up in a 

< r sufficient to distinguish it. Although now difficult 
to be obtained free from mixture, its traces are everywhere 
to be found in all the home-breds of the eastern parts of 
fife ; arid it is probably to this intermixture that the modern 
Fife*! I e owe the most useful qualities which are sup- 

posed to distinguish them. It is much to be regretted that 
the former breeders of Fifeshire should have been too care- 
less of the preservation of a breed so much superior to the 
mixed varieties that have succeeded to it. Had the Falkland 
Hreed been cultiv;ited with care, during a period when arti 

food could have been -'implied in the requisite quantity, 

332 THE OX. 

it is probable that Fifeshire would now have been possessed 
of a breed combining, in a degree not surpassed by any other 
in the kingdom, the properties of grazing and yielding milk. 
But the breed of Fifeshire being now, from whatever 
causes, mixed, and the Falkland Breed existing in too small 
a number to allow of any reasonable hope of restoring it, 
the economical question which arises, is, in what manner the 
existing varieties may be best improved? This certainly 
may be effected in the case of the Fifeshire, as of any other 
cattle, by a careful selection of the parents, and by a conti- 
nued system of breeding amongst the individuals of the im- 
proved progeny ; but the end could not be accomplished 
without the long labour which such improvements demand, 
and hardly without a more general accordance in the opinion 
of breeders than now exists, with respect to what the Fife- 
shire breed really is, or what it should be. While one class 
of agriculturists shall cultivate a race on the model of the 
Angus or Galloway, and another, one on the type of the 
horned Falkland, particular herds and stocks may be im- 
proved, but no uniform breed can be established. It would 
seem better, then, to recur at once to a breed already formed, 
and of recognised goodness. The improved Short-horns, or 
Durhams, have already supplanted the coarser home-breds 
over a great part of the British Islands. They have taken 
root far beyond the Forth, even in the most northern coun- 
ties ; and in the high range of the Lammermuir, to the south 
of the same river, the breed is now reared in its purity by 
every farmer ; and it would be absurd to contend, that a low 
country like Fife, abounding in fertile soil, capable of pro- 
ducing turnips and the cultivated grasses, and continually 
advancing in its agriculture, should not be able to support 
any of the finest and largest breeds which the Island can 
produce. Intelligent individuals have already introduced 
stocks of pure Short-horns, but even the merely crossing with 
superior Bulls of the breed would at once remove all the 
harsher characters of the Fifeshire varieties ; and although 


crossing, in the case of certain breeds which have acquired a 
fixed class of characters suited to the condition of a particu- 
lar country, as the Ayrshire and the Galloway, might be in- 
judicious, it would never be found to be so with a class of 
cattle so mixed and various as that of Fifeshire. Doubtless 
the Durham Breed is not so well fitted for the ordinary pur- 
poses of the dairy as the home-breds of Fifeshire ; but then, 
in that locality, the dairy, though extensively pursued, is little 
more than an affair of the household. The main purposes of 
the grazier are grazing and fattening ; and it seems proper 
that a breed of the first class should be established in a dis- 
trict so w r ell fitted to pursue this branch of industry. 

Extending from Fifeshire westward to the Ochil Hills, the 
cattle are generally hornless, and of a size intermediate be- 
tween the breeds of the Highland mountains and those of 
the plains. Some of these cattle, especially those of the 
Ochil Hills, are really good, and suited to the country in 
which they are reared, and merely demand that attention to 
the selection of the breeding parents, which shall call forth 
their more useful properties. 


The Breed termed Alderney is derived from the group of 
beautiful islands, pertaining to the British Crown, which lie 
near the shores of France, in the bay formed by the coasts of 
Normandy and Britany. Although termed Alderney, the 
breed, with some difference of characters, is common to all 
the islands. The Cows are imported into England in consi- 
derable numbers, and are esteemed beyond those of any 
other race for the richness of the milk, and the deep yellow 
tinge of the butter. Hence they are in demand by the more 
opulent classes for the domestic dairy, and regarded as a 
kind of appendage of the park and rural villa. They are in- 
troduced likewise into the regular butter dairies, chiefly of 

334 THE OX. 

Dorsetshire and Hampshire, and they are mingled in blood 
with the native races, especially the Devon and its varieties. 
To supply these sources of demand, the importation from the 
islands is regular, and forms a considerable branch of their 

The cattle of this race are small and ill-formed, when 
regarded as animals to be fattened. The cow is greatly 
below the male in strength and stature, in which respect she 
resembles the cows of the Devon and its kindred breeds. 
Her neck is thin, her shoulder light, her chest narrow, and 
the belly large. The limbs are slender, the pelvic bones 
prominent ; the lumbar region is deep, the croup short and 
drooping, and the udder large. The muzzle is narrow, the 
horns are short, slender, and curving inwards. The colour 
is usually of a light red or fawn, mixed with white ; but fre- 
quently individuals are black, mixed with white or dun, and 
sometimes cream-coloured. The skin is thin, and of a rich 
orange-yellow, and the fat, as well as the milk and butter, 
is tinged with the same colour. The animals are gentle, 
and somewhat delicate in constitution. Being small in size, 
the milk they yield is likewise small in quantity, although 
fully in proportion to their bulk of body ; and it is viscid, and 
rich in cream. In their native country, the Bullocks are 
used for labour, to which they are better adapted than, from 
the slender form of the dam, might be inferred. 

The islands from which these cattle are derived, are the 
sole remaining appanage to the English crown of the ancient 
Duchy of Normandy. When the rude Northmen had hewed 
a passage by the sword to the fair plains of Western France, 
they subdued likewise the lovely little islands on its shores ; 
and, after a hundred years of strife, having ravaged Bur- 
gundy and the adjacent provinces, and twice assailed the city 
of Paris, and once reduced it to ashes, these wild invaders 
were put in possession of the conquered lands by a formal 
investiture. In the year of our Lord 912, Charles the Simple 
concluded a treaty, from which a thousand mighty events 


were to spring, with Hollo, the Scandinavian chief, to whom 
was yielded up the whole of Normandy and its dependencies, 
to he held for ever as a fief of the crown of France, but in truth 
to be an independent kingdom ; for so little did the warlike 
Northman understand or regard the feudal fiction, that he 
refused to undergo the customary forms. One hundred and 
fifty years later, his great successor, surnamed the Con- 
queror, added the proud kingdom of England to his Norman 
inheritance. In the memorable course of events, the Duchy of 
Normandy was severed from the English sway ; but the 
islands on its coasts were preserved, and have remained, in 
all the changes of fortune, to the present hour, a part and 
dependency of England. The customs and language of the 
people were retained by them, and their laws and ancient 
privileges have been respected for the long space of 900 
years. The inhabitants have been treated by England with 
the favour which their fidelity and peculiar condition seemed 
to demand. While all the privileges of British subjects are 
accorded to them, with respect to their commerce with other 
countries, they are freed from the heavy imposts to which 
the parent country is necessarily subject. Their corn, their 
timber, their wine, their sugar, and all colonial and foreign 
merchandize, may be imported by them free of all the cus- 
toms and restraints which, in England, must be imposed for 
the purposes of revenue and protection ; while they may ex- 
port them again, as well as their own productions and manu- 
factures, to all the world. Although Norman in their ori- 
gin, and speaking the ancient language of the country from 
which they have been severed, they are English with respect 
to their interests, their religion, and their feelings as sub- 
jects. Insulting, as it were, by their contiguity, the proud 
and warlike nation which regards their country as a natural 
adjunct of France, they have bravely aided in repelling the 
attempts of repeated armaments to subdue them. But their 
true defence is the powerful navy of England, without whose 

336 THE OX. 

incessant vigilance in the time of war, nothing could guard 
them from surprise and subjugation. 

The islands are four, Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey, and Sark, 
with their dependent islets. The most northerly, and nearest 
to the coast of France, is Alderney, which is well protected 
by its rocky shores and dangerous currents. The most wes- 
terly is Guernsey, which is the least fertile in soil ; and the 
smallest is Sark, which consists of a beautiful table-land, 
scarcely accessible from the sea, and capable of being de- 
fended by a handful of men. The largest, richest, and most 
populous is Jersey, lying about six leagues from the coast of 
France. Its surface, except where it rises into rocky emi- 
nences, presents to the eye a rich forest of fruit-trees, gar- 
dens, and little cultivated fields, among which are to be seen 
the villas and chateaus of the opulent, with the lowlier, yet 
not less beautiful, dwellings of the humbler classes, green 
with vines and myrtles, and embosomed in groves of the 
cider-apple. When viewed more near, all the surface of the 
country is seen to be intersected with innumerable banks of 
earth, covered with trees, and verdant with the leaves of 
bushes and the creeping ivy. These are the divisions of the 
numberless little fields and possessions of the inhabitants, 
into which, as an effect of the old Norman law of succession, 
enforcing an equal division of land amongst the children of 
a family, the whole country has been partitioned. The neces- 
sary effect of this law, operating for more than nine centuries 
within the narrow limits of a small island, has been to re- 
duce all the land of the country into small possessions. 
Scarcely an estate is to be found in the whole island of forty 
acres, many vary from five to fifteen, and the greater number 
fall below the extent of the least of these. The tendency 
and effect of such an institution, continued from age to age, 
might seem to be to produce an interminably minute division 
of property in land ; and yet experience proves that there 
are limits to such a division, even in a tract so narrow and 


populous as Jersey. The children, in succeeding to the par- 
celled inheritance, make such arrangements with one another 
as their interests require. The younger sells to the elder, 
and he who does not wish for land to him who does ; and 
thus, besides the law of mortality, which unites, from time 
to time, the scattered possessions into one, the interests of 
the possessors present a barrier to an indefinite subdivision. 
The law, founded on the simple principle, that every man is 
bound to provide equally for his children out of his stock in 
land, and that every lawful child has an equal right to the 
inheritance of his father, is cherished by these islanders as 
the most venerable of their institutions. It was derived by 
them from their Norwegian ancestors, in whose country it 
exists to the present hour ; and where, after the lapse of 
more than a thousand years, it has not produced an excessive 
subdivision of estates. The land of Norway is indeed more 
divided than it would have been under the feudal system, 
but not into smaller possessions than the interests of the in- 
heritors demand ; and in no country in Europe does there 
exist a happier and more independent race of yeomanry than 
the Udal proprietors of Norway. In Jersey, and its sister 
islands, the division has been more minute, merely because 
a greater number of families can subsist on a given space of 

All the practices of rural industry in these islands are mo- 
dified by this ancient institution. The land thus partitioned 
is cultivated in the manner of a garden, and the industry of 
the people supplies the place of that art which simplifies and 
economises labour ; and that the substitution is sufficient ap- 
pears from this, that larger returns in produce and money are 
here obtained than in the richest parts of the British Islands ; 
and in the island of Jersey, in the cases where it is let on 
lease, brings from L.4 to L.5 and upwards the acre ; and 
in the neighbourhood of St Helier, the principal town, it lets 
as high as from L.8 to L.12 ; and at these enormous rents, it 
is to be observed, families are reared in humble affluence on 

338 THE OX. 

spots which elsewhere would be considered insufficient to 
maintain the poorest labourer. The people cultivate cider as 
the principal subject of export, and fruits of different kinds ; 
and in an especial manner, lucerne, clover, potatoes, carrots, 
parsnips, turnips, and cole, for the food of their cows. They 
cultivate, likewise, pease and the cereal grains, and reap 
abundant returns. Their land never lies fallow for a season, 
but is either in patches of fertile meadow, or yields continued 
crops in the manner of a garden. They manure it with the 
marine plants which grow in great abundance over all their 
rocky shores. The sea-plants thus collected, they term Vraic, 
and use either fresh or burned. They obtain their vraic as 
it is cast on shore, or they shear it from the rocks at stated 
times. The periods and the mode of gathering it are nicely 
regulated by the insular laws, so that all the people may 
equally partake of this natural gift of their seas. It forms 
their domestic fuel, and the ashes are carefully preserved 
for use. The Cow, in an especial degree, is the subject of 
the care of these island farmers. She is penned on a narrow 
space, and shifted to fresh spots of herbage several times in 
the day, and in the nights of winter she is warmly housed, 
and, when about to calve, is nourished with cider. Through- 
out all the year these little cows are to be seen in their 
patches of meadow, often under the shade of the apple-trees, 
and so fastened that they cannot raise their heads to pull 
the fruit. In addition to their herbage, they are fed with 
lucerne, clover, carrots, parsnips, and the large Jersey cole, 
the leaves of which are stripped off as they grow. A value 
is here attached to the Cow greater, perhaps, than in any 
other part of Europe. She is the resource of the household 
for food, and her surplus produce is a part of the returns of 
every farm. A Jersey man, it is said, will treat every ani- 
mal on his farm with neglect except his cow. To preserve 
the purity of the race, an act of the insular Legislature was 
passed in the year 1789, and yet subsists, by which the impor- 
tation into Jersey of any cow, heifer, calf, or bull, is prohibited 


under the penalty of 200 livres, with forfeiture of the boat 
and tackle, and a further penalty of fifty livres is imposed on 
any sailor on board who does not inform of the attempt. The 
animal itself is to be immediately slaughtered, and its flesh 
given to the poor. 

The breeds of the several islands are essentially the same, 
although that of Guernsey deviates from the common type, 
and presents a greater affinity with the races of Normandy, 
the individuals having more spreading horns, the size being 
larger, the form rounder, and the bones less prominent, than 
in the cattle of the other islands. The true Alderney has 
a great resemblance to certain breeds of Norway, which 
leads to the conclusion, that, in the intercourse with the 
North which followed the subjugation of Normandy and its 
dependencies, Scandinavian cattle were introduced into the 
Islands of the Channel. 


Of the cattle of these Islands, reared especially for the 
uses of the Dairy, those of but a few districts present such 
an affinity in conformation and habits as to be regarded as 
constituting breeds or families. But the cattle of Ayrshire, 
which are reared exclusively for the supply of milk, have 
spead over a large tract of country, and, by continued inter- 
mixture with one another, have acquired such a community 
of characters, as to form a distinct and well-defined breed. 

The county of Ayr, stretching along the estuary of the 
Clyde, and the Irish Sea, for about eighty miles, consists 
in part of moory hills, in part of an undulating surface of 
common clay, intersected by narrow vales, and in part of a 
flat tract nearer the coast, bounded towards the sea by a 
belt of barren sand. The climate is moist, but not intem- 
perate, although the country, like that of all the western 
shores of Scotland, is too much exposed to the continued winds 

340 THE 

and humid vapours of the Atlantic. It contains fertile t 
and presents to the eye picturesque scenes : but throughout 
it is only of a very moderate fertility, and exhibits a far dif- 
ferent aspect from those rich and verdant plains of the Severn 
and the Avon, of the Trent and the Cam. where the largest 
cattle in Europe can be reared, and the richest productions 
of the Dairy obtained. And further, the artificial improve- 
ment of the country is but as of yesterday, when compared 
with that of the fertile plains of England. Within the 
memory almost of the living generation, the agriculture of 
Ayrshire was in a state of utter rudeness. Its condition at 
the middle of the last century, and long afterwards, is thus 
described by eye-witnesses. There was hardly lonel 

Fullarton. in his Survey of Avrshire. a practicable road in the 
country. The farm-houses were mere hovels, built with clay, 
having a fire-place in the middle, with an open space for the 
escape of the smoke, and they were placed in a dunghill. 
The lands were overrun with rushes and weeds of all kinds. 
There were no fallows, no green crops, no sown grasses, no 
carts or waggons, no straw-yards. Hardly an esculent root 
was raised, nor indeed any garden vegetables, beyond some 
Scotch greens, which, with milk and oatmeal, formed the diet 
of the people. There was little straw, and no hay beyond 
the scanty portion collected from the bogs and The 

little dung produced was dragged to the ground on cars or 
sledges, or on what were called tumbler- wheels, which turned 
with the axle-tree, and supported the wretched vehicle scarcely 
able to draw five hundredweight. The ground was scourged 
with successive crops of oats after oats so lon as it would 
pay the seed and labour, and afford a small surplus of oat- 
meal for the subsistence of the family. It then remained in 
a state of absolute sterility, and covered with thistles, until 
rest again enabled it to produce a scanty crop of corn. The 
rent was generally paid in kind, on the condition of what was 
termed half labour. The stock and implements were fur- 
nished mutually by the parties concerned, or on such terms 


as could be agreed upon, one-half of the crop going to the 
landlord as rent, and the other remaining to the tenant, to 
enable him to maintain his family and cultivate his farm. 
There being scarcely any enclosures, the horses and cattle 
were either tethered during the summer months, or intrusted 
to the discretion of the shepherd and his cur, by whom they 
were kept in continued agitation, being impelled, through 
famine, to fly from their bare leas, and commit continued de- 
predation on the adjacent crops. The cattle being starved 
during winter, were hardly able to rise without assistance in 
spring, and were never in fit condition for the market. No 
tenant could command money to stock his farm, and scarce 
a landlord could raise the means to improve his estate. Such 
was the condition, not of Ayrshire alone, but of a great part 
of Scotland, during half the reign of George III., and down 
to the times which men yet living can remember. Ayrshire 
did not surpass, in the course of improvement, u like 

itself, but rather lagged behind. Scarcely any thing that 
deserves the name of agricultural improvement was effected 
in it until after the disastrous close of the American war; 
most of what has been done has been effected since the com- 
mencement of the present century ; and much of it within a 
few years. It is under these circumstances that a race of 
cattle has been formed and perfected, which, with relation to 
the purposes to which it is especially destined, ranks with 
some of the most useful produced in Britain. 

Authentic records are wanting to shew by what progres- 
sive steps the Dairy Breed of Ayrshire has been moulded 
into its present form. That it was late in arriving at the 
estimation in which it is now held, is sufficiently known. Mr 
(Julley. who wrote his treatise on live-stock before the year 
1790, does not even mention the Ayrshire as one of the re- 
cognised breeds of the country, nor once refer to it in the subse- 
quent editions of his work : and Colonel Fullarton, in describ- 
ing the country in which it was found, speaks of it in a man- 
ner so general, as to shew that he did not regard it as any 

342 THE ox. 

thing remarkable. The older breed of the country seems to 
have been one of those varieties of coarse cattle, with horns 
of a medium length, which formerly occupied all the central 
mountains south of the Forth, and extended into the plains. 
Mr Ayton, who published a treatise on the Dairy Husbandry 
of Ayrshire in 1825, describes them, from his own recollec- 
tion, as having been a puny unshapely race, not superior to 
those yet met with in many of the higher districts. They 
were mostly, he tells us, of a black colour, marked with white 
on the face, the back, and the flanks, and few of the Cows 
yielded more than from one and a half to two gallons of milk 
in the day, at the height of the season, or weighed, when fat, 
more than 20 stones. But previous to the period referred 
to, cattle" of other races had been mingled in blood with the 
native Ayrshire. It is stated, on competent authority, that, 
even so early as the middle of the century, the Earl of March- 
mont had brought, from his estates in Berwickshire, a bull 
and several cows which he had procured from the Bishop of 
Durham, of the Teeswater Breed, then known by the name 
of the Holstein or Dutch Breed; and mention is made of 
other proprietors who brought to their parks foreign Cows 
apparently of the same race. To what degree these casual 
importations affected the native breed of Ayrshire is not cer- 
tainly known ; but tradition refers likewise to an early impor*- 
tation of individuals of the Alderney Breed to the parish of 
Dunlop, which became first distinguished for its Cows and 
the produce of its dairy. This tradition is almost confirmed 
by the similarity existing between the Alderney Breed and 
the modern Ayrshire, which is so great as to lead us, inde- 
pendently of tradition, to the conclusion, that the blood of 
the one has been largely mixed with that of the other. There 
is the same peculiar character of the horns, and colour of the 
skin ; and the general resemblance of the form is so great, 
that in many cases a Jersey Cow might be mistaken for an 
Ayrshire one. We may assume, then, from all the evidence 
which, in the absence of authentic documents, the case admits 


of, that the Dairy Breed of Ayrshire owes the characters 
which distinguish it from the older race to a mixture with 
the blood of races of the Continent, and of the Dairy Breed 
of Alderney. 

The modern Ayrshire may stand in the fourth or fifth 
class of British Breeds with respect to size. The horns are 
small, and curving inwards at the extremity after the man- 
ner of the Alderney s. The shoulders are light, and the 
loins very broad and deep, which is a conformation almost 
always accompanying the property of yielding abundant milk. 
The skin is moderately soft to the touch, and of an orange- 
yellow tinge, which appears about the eyes and on the mam- 
mae. The prevailing colour is a reddish-brown, mixed more 
or less with white. The muzzle is usually dark, though often 
it is flesh-coloured. The limbs are slender, the neck is small, 
and the head is free from coarseness. The muscles of the 
inner side of the thigh, technically called the twist, are thin ; 
and the haunch frequently droops much to the rump, a charac- 
ter which exists likewise in the Alderney Breed, and which, 
although it impairs the symmetry of the animal, is not re- 
garded as inconsistent with the faculty of secreting milk. 
The udders are moderately large, without being flaccid. The 
cows are very docile and gentle, and hardy to the degree of 
bearing to subsist on ordinary food. They give a large quan- 
tity of milk in proportion to their size and the meat con- 
sumed, and this milk is of excellent quality. Healthy cows, 
on good pastures, will give from 800 to 900 gallons in the 
year, although, taking into account the younger and less pro- 
ductive stock, 600 gallons may be regarded as a fair average 
for the low country, and somewhat less for a dairy-stock in 
the higher. 

Few of the steers of this breed are reared for grazing, and 
the male sucking-calves are sold to the butchers either when 
young, or when fed with milk for a longer or shorter time. 
The cows, when they become dry, fatten quickly, which is a 
property common to all good milch- cows. But the value of 

344 THE OX. 

the breed is to be estimated solely by its adaptation to the 
uses of the dairy. The attention of breeders having been 
directed exclusively to this end, the animals have acquired, 
in an eminent degree, the properties sought for ; and their 
external form accords with that which indicates this faculty, 
and not with that which shews a disposition to arrive at early 
maturity of muscle and fatness. Those, therefore, who sup- 
pose that the Ayrshire Breed combines the properties of a 
dairy and grazing stock, entirely mistake its distinctive cha- 
racters. It stands in the first class as a dairy stock, but 
occupies an inferior place as one to be reared for fattening. 

The Ayrshire Breed has long been extended from its na- 
tive districts to all the neighbouring counties where the regu- 
lar dairy is established. It now forms the prevailing stock 
of Renfrew, Dumbarton, Stirling, and Lanark, and it has ex- 
tended into the shires of Dumfries, Wigton, and Kirkcud- 
bright. It has been carried into England, where, however, 
it has never arrived at the estimation which it possesses in its 
native pastures. All cows succeed best in the places where 
they have been reared, and those of Ayrshire appear to have 
the peculiarity of tending too much to fatten, with a corre- 
sponding diminution of milk, when they are transported to 
richer herbage than is natural to them. They have been 
tried in the great dairy establishments of London, but have 
always been relinquished in favour of the Yorkshire and 
larger breeds. 

Some breeders in Ayrshire have begun to cross the breed 
with the Short-horns. This may suit the purposes of parti- 
cular breeders, because the first crosses will always be supe- 
rior to the native stock in size, form, and grazing qualities, 
and little inferior to it for the production of milk ; but the 
practice cannot benefit the general breed, now so uniform in 
its characters, and so well suited to the husbandry of the 
'country. The true method of improving it is to preserve it 
in the purity which it has acquired, and to adopt such modes 
of treatment and feeding as shall conduce to the further de- 


velopment of its properties and form. The Ayrshire Breed 
has been nearly doubled in weight, with a great increase in 
its power of yielding milk, within the present century ; and, 
with the further progress of cultivation, its improvement 
cannot but be progressive. 


On the southern side of the Bristol Channel extends the 
country of the ancient Damnonii, comprehending the present 
counties of Devon and Cornwall. Much of this tract re- 
sembles Wales in its aspect and geological characters ; and 
like Wales, it afforded in a former age a refuge, amongst its 
mountains, rocks, and fastnesses, for the Celtic Britons. In 
this country we find the remains of the same older breeds 
of cattle which yet exist in the Welsh mountains, modified 
by the effects of a lower altitude and more temperate climate. 
In the county of Cornwall to the westward, the old breeds 
of cattle resembled those yet existing in the mountains of 
Wales, although they have been long so mixed with other 
races and with one another, that it is difficult to assign to 
them any distinctive characters. But farther to the east- 
ward, and occupying the high lands of Devonshire on the 
Bristol Channel, is a peculiar variety of cattle, distinguished 
by such a common resemblance of properties and form as to 
render it one of the best-defined breeds of the British Islands. 
It is usually termed the Devon Breed, and sometimes the 
North Devon, from its being found in the greatest purity in 
the northern division of the county. These cattle have been 
extended very widely, but their peculiar district is the north- 
ern slope of Devonshire, extending from Barnstaple eastward 
beyond the river Exe. 

The true North Devons are to be classed with the breeds 
of the higher country. They exceed a little in weight the 
hardier and more muscular Pembroke and West Highland 
cattle ; but they fall short of the Long-horned, Hereford, 

346 THE OX. 

and other varieties of, the lower plains. Their general form 
is light and graceful ; their skin is of an orange-yellow colour ; 
and they are distinguished by having the hair of a bright 
red, and by their eyes being surrounded by a ring of the 
colour of the skin. The nose is likewise of the same colour, 
and the inside of the ears is orange-red. Their horns are of 
medium length, very fine, and bending upwards in the manner 
of the Wild Cattle of the parks. Their skin is unctuous and 
soft to the touch, and the hair is fine, and tending to curl, like 
that of other cattle inhabiting a humid climate. The neck 
is long, and the chest has little dewlap. The shoulders are 
oblique, the hoofs and bones of the extremities are small, the 
limbs are slender and long, the chest is only of moderate 
width, the back is long, and the distance large between the 
last asternal rib and the pelvis. These are the most marked 
characteristics of the true Devon s, taking as the type of the 
breed the variety proper to the elevated district of North 
Devon. As we recede from this centre, the size and form 
of the animals deviate more or less from the pure type. In 
the countries of richer herbage they become enlarged in size, 
and lose somewhat of the delicacy of shape which they ex- 
hibit in their native pastures. They appear to be of that 
variety of the ancient cattle which were valued for their 
white colour, and the peculiarity of their red ears. 

The females of this race are small as compared with the 
bulls and oxen, deficient in the power of yielding milk, and 
tending to run soon dry. Nevertheless the milk is very rich 
in cream, and of a fine yellow colour, on which account many 
prefer the Devons, for the domestic dairy, to other races whose 
milk is more abundant. The flesh of the cattle is juicy and 
tender, and tolerably well mixed with the muscular parts. 
The fat has a peculiarly yellow tinge, corresponding with the 
colour of the integuments ; but this is not regarded as an 
imperfection in those markets where the principal beef is the 
Devon, and where the eye is reconciled to this peculiarity in 
the colour of the fatty tissue. 

The Devon cattle are gentle, agile, and above all our races 


adapted to active labour. Their shoulders have that obli- 
quity which enables them to lift freely their fore extremities ; 
and their quarters behind are relatively long, which is a cha- 
racter connected in the Ox, as in the Horse, with the power 
of active motion. Their bodies, too, are light, and their limbs 
long, muscular to the hock and knee, and below these joints 
sinewy. These cattle, then, although wanting in the power 
of heavy draught which the larger Oxen can exert, have the 
faculty of muscular exertion in a higher degree. They trot 
well in harness, and will keep pace with a horse in the or- 
dinary labours of the farm. They are largely employed 
throughout the county of Devon for the purposes of labour, 
usually four together, and mostly attached by the yoke and 
not by the collar. The team of the labouring Oxen in this 
beautiful county is one of the charms of the rural landscape. 
A boy accompanies the ploughman and his team to drive the 
Oxen. He chaunts continually a simple melody in low notes 
rising to the higher. From morn to night this simple song 
is heard, the ploughman putting in from time to time his 
lower notes in happy keeping. The beasts seem cheered by 
the music ; and from hour to hour the team may be observed 
in motion, without a harsh word being uttered by the plough- 
man or his youthful companion.* 

Although the Devon Ox presents a symmetry of parts 
which pleases the eye, yet his form is not precisely that which 
the breeder seeks for in an animal destined to fatten quickly 
and arrive at great weight. His neck is too long, his chest 
is too narrow, his sides are too flat, his limbs are too long 
in proportion to his body, or, in other words, his body is too 
small in proportion to his height. The Devon Ox is a kindly 
enough feeder, but he requires good pastures and a some- 
what favourable climate, and could barely subsist on food 
which would suffice to fatten some of the hardier mountain 
breeds of nearly his own size. 

* Mr Youatt, Library of Useful Knowledge. 

348 THE OX. 

But the defects in the form of the genuine Devon s are 
capable of being removed by the care of the breeder. How- 
ever long the Devon has been in existence as a separate 
variety, nothing like care had been bestowed on its improve- 
ment in the country which it inhabits, until a recent period. 
Even until several years after the commencement of the last 
war, the breeders of Devonshire seem to have been ignorant 
that there was any thing remarkable in their native breed ; 
and they appear to have only become aware of its importance, 
and the profit of improving it, by the demand which arose for it 
in other districts. Since the beginning of the present century, 
however, the breed has received its full share of public at- 
tention. Many eminent breeders in different parts of the 
country have adopted it, and, by selection of the parents, 
and enlarged supplies of food given to the animals when 
young, have succeeded in imparting to it properties which it 
had not acquired in its native district. 

But, nevertheless, the Devon Breed, however much the 
defects of its conformation may be corrected, and however 
desirous graziers may be to procure it from the district in 
which it is reared for the purpose of fattening, is not calcu- 
lated to supplant other breeds to any great extent in this 
country, when the end is rearing as well as grazing. It does 
not equal in hardiness some others nearly similar in weight, 
as the Pembroke, the West Highland, and the Galloway. It 
falls short, in the weight at which it usually arrives, of the 
Short-Horned and Hereford Breeds, and will not generally 
yield so large a return as they will do from the period of birth 
to maturity, however well it may remunerate the grazier be- 
tween the periods of buying and selling. Neither is the 
breed well suited to the bringing up of calves, or to the hus- 
bandry of the dairy, in which the profit depends on obtaining 
a large quantity of milk for a considerable period of the year. 
For these reasons, the breed of North Devon, however greatly 
it is to be valued, is not now found to extend itself in dis- 
tricts where the richer pastures are found, and where the 


means exist of cultivating artificial provender. In such situa- 
tions, the larger individuals of the Short-Horned and Here- 
ford races are preferred by those whose purpose is breeding 
as well as grazing ; and we may be well assured that the in- 
terests of individuals have conducted them, in this respect, 
to the course which is most profitable. The Devon Breed, 
however, must always be held in estimation over a large tract 
of country. It will be sought for by those who purchase 
cattle to graze for a limited period, and sufficient inducement 
is therefore held out to the Devonshire breeders to preserve 
the purity of their native race, and to bring it to all the per- 
fection to which, by a careful selection of the parents, and 
liberal feeding of the young, it can be brought. There is no 
need of exaggerated statements of the superiority of the 
Devon Breed over others, in order to place it in its proper 
rank. Like the West Highland, the Castle-Martin, and the 
Galloway Breeds, it has a high intrinsic value for the gra- 
zier ; but assuredly it does not surpass, as some of its too 
eager admirers maintain, other breeds which arrive at greater 
weight, and attain earlier maturity. 

The Devonshire breeders adhere scrupulously to the deep 
red colour of the hair, and reject individuals having a ten- 
dency to produce white on the face and the body. This is a 
merely conventional test of purity and goodness, for certainly 
white is, still more than red, the pristine colour of the race, 
and its appearance ought not to be regarded as a sign of 
degeneracy. But although the strict adherence to a given 
colour may limit in some cases the selection of males and 
females for breeding, it tends in an eminent degree to ensure 
the general purity of the breed. The deep blood-red colour 
of the pure North Devons is so peculiar, that there is no 
other race in this country, in which an admixture of foreign 
blood is so easily traced, or which, accordingly, has remained 
so free from foreign intermixture. Inasmuch, then, as this 
limitation of colour ensures uniformity in the typical charac- 
ters of the race, it is beneficial ; and it is not, therefore, ex- 

350 THE OX. 

pedient that the agriculturists of North Devon should de- 
part from the standard of the purity of their beautiful breed 
which has been so long established. 

The Devon Breed extends from the northern division of the 
county into South Devon all the way to the British Channel. 
Here the red colour characteristic of the purer race becomes 
less bright, and white frequently appears on the body and 
extremities, and the animals become enlarged in size, corres- 
ponding with the increased fertility of the country, and as- 
sume a coarser form. The South Devons, accordingly, are 
held in far inferior estimation to the variety proper to the 
higher country for ready fattening ; but they are greatly 
valued in their own district as rising to a good weight, and 
supplying the larger beef which is in demand at the numerous 
shipping ports of the coast. For this latter purpose, indeed, 
the Durhams and Herefords would probably be found better 
adapted ; but if the breeders of South Devon shall continue 
to prefer the existing race, then surely the means ought to 
be used to improve it in the degree of which it is susceptible. 
It is absurd to say, as some have done, that the South Devon 
breed is bad in itself, and incapable of improvement. The 
South Devon Breed is only bad because sufficient attention 
has not been paid, by selection of the parents, to the improve- 
ment of the progeny. 

As connected in some characters with the Devon group, 
may be mentioned a variety of cattle rendered remarkable 
by the striking contrast of colours on the body, which is found 
in Somersetshire and some other of the south-western coun- 
ties. It is usually termed the Sheeted Breed of Somerset- 
shire. It has existed in the same parts of England from 
time immemorial. The red colour of the hair has a light 
yellow tinge, and the white colour passes like a sheet over 
the body. The individuals are sometimes horned, but more 
frequently they are hornless. The cows are hardy, docile, 
and well suited to the dairy. The beef of the oxen is of 
good quality and well marbled. The breed has become rare, 


which is to be regretted, since it is much better suited to the 
dairy than others that have been adopted. 

The peculiar marking which distinguishes these cattle is 
not confined to any one breed. It appears amongst the cattle 
of Wales when they are crossed by the White Forest Breed ; 
and is frequent amongst those of Ireland, and used to be so 
amongst the older Galloways of Scotland. It is very com- 
mon in Holland, where the colours are black and white. It 
may be ascribed to the intermixture of two races having each 
a tendency to produce the pristine colour of the stock from 
which it is derived. Thus a mixture of the White Forest 
Breed and a Devon might produce an animal resembling the 
Sheeted Somerset, with the Black Falkland, one resembling 
the sheeted varieties of the Dutch, and so on. The pecu- 
liarity, when communicated, is very constant ; and, when two 
animals possessing it are mixed together in blood, the pro- 
geny never fails to preserve the marking of the parents. 


The North Devon Breed of cattle, it has been seen, in- 
habits the elevated district on the southern side of the Bris- 
tol Channel, and is manifestly derived from the older race 
which inhabited the same country. In passing from the 
greywacke district of Devonshire into the calcareous country 
to the eastward, comprehending the greater part of Somer- 
setshire, and the counties of Dorset, Wilts, Berks, and Hants, 
the Devon Breed ceases to appear, or, if found, is manifestly 
not indigenous to the districts, but derived from those to the 
westward. It reappears, however, in the county of Sussex, 
a portion of which differs entirely, in its geological charac- 
ters, from the districts with which it is in contact. The 
Weald of Sussex, or, as it termed by geologists, the Wealden, 
is believed to have been a deposite from some vast river flow- 
ing from a continent, no longer existing in its former state, 

352 THE OX. 

and long accordingly before the historical era, and before the 
Island of Britain had assumed its present form. This stream 
of fresh water appears to have formed at its mouth a delta 
like that of the Ganges, the Nile, and other great rivers, 
washing along with it numerous animals, whose remains 
exist, and testify to the living generation the prodigious 
revolutions which this globe has undergone in its physical 
constitution and animated inhabitants. Amongst the amaz- 
ing monuments of a former age, which this remarkable delta 
presents, is a reptile which fed on herbage, and which, from 
the measurement made of its bones, appears to have been 
upwards of seventy feet in length ; and there are found, too, 
the remains of numerous other species, not one of which now 
inhabits the earth. The Wealden forms part of Sussex, and 
extends into Kent, and is distinguished by its surface being 
a tenacious clay, entirely distinct from the chalky soils which 
surround it. In later ages this tract became covered with 
dense forests, and is yet remarkable, beyond any part of 
England, for the number of noble trees which it produces. 
" The hithermore and northern side thereof, 5 ' says Camden, 
in describing this part of Sussex, " is shaded most pleasantly 
with woods, like as in times past, the whole country through- 
out, which, by reason of the woods, was hardly passable. 
For the wood Andraswald, in the British language Coid 
Andred, taking the name of Anderida, the city next ad- 
joining, tooke up in this quarter, a hundred and twentie 
miles in length, and thirtie in bredth ; memorable for the 
death of Segibert, King of the West Saxons, who being de- 
posed from his roiall throne, was in this place stabbed by a 
swineherd, and so died." Long after the Romans landed 
in Britain, the Wealden continued to be a vast thicket of 
wood, in